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MARANDA PLEASANT’S

MANTRA YOGA + HEALTH

​CELEBRATE. HEALING. FRESH. ARTFUL LIVING. MAGIC. ​VEGAN. ECO. ORGANIC. REAL.


Love & Consciousness in Action At the heart of ORGANIC INDIA is our commitment to be a living embodiment of love and consciousness in action. We work with thousands of family farmers in India to cultivate thousands of acres of sustainable, organic farmland. Each of our products embodies a flow of love, respect and connectedness between Mother Nature, our farmers, our company and you.

EARTH SEER

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100% certified organic • sustainably & ethically grown • vegetarian • kosher • gluten free


Products Shown: Peachskin Eyebag Standard Bolster Recycled Foam Block Para Rubber Mat 8ft Natural D-ring Strap Deluxe Wool Blanket


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mantra

contents

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SIDE ONE

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SIDE ONE

SIDE ONE

SIDE ONE

SIDE two

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SIDE ONE

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SIDE two

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SIDE two

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SIDE two


CONTENTS SIDE ONE

SIDE TWO

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Caren Baginski

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TOP ATHLETE MICHELLE PARKER

TIA BLANCO

On surrounding yourself with positive energy, a physical edge, and staying away from negative self-talk.

Overcoming the darkness: self-doubt, anxiety, and depression.

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SEANE CORN

Internationally known yogi on trauma, violence, compassion, and why yoga is so friggin’ important.

Top training tips for all of us, her morning health regimen, the necessity of yoga, eating local, seasonal, and organic, and remembering to keep it simple.

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YOGOGIRLS

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south central yoga, los angeles

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Cameron Shayne + Melayne Weber

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beth stuart

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mASTA ACE

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WAH!

Spirited edge dwellers inspiring with images and words, empowering others to rise to their highest calling.

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KELLY GREEN

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VEGANFATKID

Staying stress free in pregnancy and beyond.

One part food, one part fitness, and one part living like you give a damn.

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FITNESS GURU DENISE AUSTIN

On workouts for working moms, staying healthy at 58, and the pain of losing her mother.

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AFRICA YOGA PROJECT

Yoga, diversity + community.

Love is the greatest teacher.

I am a yoga teacher, and I am human.

The hip hop royalty recently revealed he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis more than 15 years ago.

Interview with the renowned musician + healer.

The transformative power of opportunity.

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angels of harlem Three and a Half Acres Yoga SIDE ONE

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mantra yoga + health

mantra TEAM PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maranda Pleasant Twitter: @marandapleasant

EDITOR’S LETTER

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Melody Tarver COPY EDITORS Colin Legerton Jenna Rohrbacher

My “Spiritual Shit” List: #1: Let’s Get Real. More Real.

Real women inspire me. Women with depth, texture and substance. These are generally hardearned qualities and leave us with a few scars. So many women I know carry and hold so much silent shame. As a single mother and a child of abuse, I understand. Let’s start talking. I believe we are going to save this planet, and the more we love and support powerful women, the better this world will be. I want you to know that you are seen and heard, and you are a part of this family. So many of our readers have been through unthinkable situations in their lives. We not only want to acknowledge you and your struggles but also want to help transform that darkness into something beautiful and useful that helps you shine in a bigger, fuller way.

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY side ONE Middle Left: Ali Kaukas Kathryn Budig: Jasper Johal side TWO Top Left: Jean-Christophe Dick Middle: Susie Wilson Elena Brower: Dominic Neitz Kathryn Budig: Under Armour

Contact uS Head Ninja editor@mantramag.com

#2: Have Boundary Issues I believe in cracking every glass ceiling. I don’t think that one size fits all. We can tell our daughters and ourselves that if we want to give our life to our art, our purpose, and our passion and not to a romantic relationship, that’s OK too. It’s your life, and you get to define your rules and what works for you. #3: Learn to Give Zero F*cks We’re taught that our value is based on our popularity, that somehow our worth is determined by how much we are liked. One word: Bullshit. We can’t ever do anything big in the world as long as we need validation and approval. The bigger you shine and the more you do, the more people will talk. Expect people who have never met you, who don’t understand your heart, vision, or passion, to talk smack about you. Get ready and go anyway! We have big, beautiful work to do in this world, and we can’t be worrying about what people are going to say. #4: Take Back Our Shame All of those things that we are most afraid of? Let’s own them. Also, let’s take back the word “fat.” It doesn’t have any real merit or power on its own and only has the value that we give it, yet we live our lives in terror of being overweight. We must collectively agree to stop being undermined by the emphasis on our appearance. I’m curvy. I have dimples on my big ass. And I’m still a sexy badass and I enjoy my body. Let’s move on from this very old, tired societal body shaming. #5: Love All of the Dark Pieces So many of us, at some point, have been abused. Our bodies have been touched without our permission or in anger. We’ve experienced loss that has broken our hearts. I invite you to come with us and join this family. Let’s love these dark places and own them and grow to celebrate them with gratitude for the depth, wisdom and understanding they eventually bring to our lives.

Advertising ads@mantramag.com Subscriptions mantramag.com SUBMISSIONS mantramag.com/article-submission Ad Rates + Specs mantramag.com/advertise Rates begin at $3400/Full page 713.922.8584 Join Our Team team@mantramag.com Twitter: @mantrayogamag

ORIGIN MAGAZINE editor@originmagazine.com Twitter: @originmagazine

thrive magazine editor@mythrivemag.com Twitter: @readthrive

Maranda Pleasant THRIVE Magazine • ORIGIN Magazine • Mantra Yoga + Health • REAL Magazine Founder / Editor-in-Chief

photo: LECHON KIRB

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mantra

Top Athlete Series

I just try to never let negative self-talk into my mind.

Champion Surfer and Gold Medalist Vegan Athlete

Tia Blanco

On surrounding yourself with positive energy, a physical edge, and staying away from negative self-talk Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What’s your health/fitness routine? Daily/weekly?

MP: What great advice has inspired you?

TIA BLANCO: During the week, I try to incorporate surfing, training, hot yoga, and running into my schedule. I do not go through a day without activity!

TB: “Do what you do as well as you can do it, and you will die one of the happiest people,” from the documentary film Cowspiracy.

MP: What makes the difference in your performance? TB: I think that a balance of my hard work, a weekly yoga practice, a

MP: How do you stay positive when things go sideways? TB: I just try to never let negative self-talk into my mind.

healthy vegan diet, and my exercise routine all make a difference.

MP: How do you prepare mentally when you compete? TB: I prefer to put my state of mind in a very positive atmosphere. I surround myself with positive energy! For example, I like to surround myself with positive people right before my competitions. reef.com/ambassadors/tia-blanco

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Tia Blanco is an ISA World Games gold medalist, a winner of the Ron Jon Pro, a 2015 Surfing America USA champ, and a 2015 NSSA Western Conference champ. She practices yoga and lives a vegan lifestyle. Her long-term goal is to make the ASP Women's World Tour.


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part three Interview with

Kathryn Budig on Her Relationship with Food and her Body, Not Wasting Time Feeling Guilty, Backlash on Her Body, Married Life, and Being a Mad Scientist in the Kitchen. INTERVIEW: Ian Prichard

Ian Prichard: You’re in the process of editing your second book, Aim True, which is coming out in January 2016. Was there anything that surprised you or that you learned while writing it? Kathryn Budig: I figured this was going to be so easy to write because it’s so personal, and there were parts of it that just flowed, but it turns out that for me, being that personal isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. IP: I’m excited that there’s going to be a bit about food in Aim True. How would you sum up your basic philosophy on food? KB: My food philosophy is based on the idea that food is love. A big part of the book is that I want people to fall in love with food again. I feel as if we fear it, as if we live in this culture where we focus on what our food is lacking instead of what it gives us. You look at a package and it says, “sugar free” and “dairy free” and “gluten free” and “oil free” and it’s not about what it’s going to do for you and how it’s going to make you feel better but what it doesn’t have, implying, “Don’t worry! You’re going to be fine! This isn’t going to hurt you!” I feel like it creates such a neurosis. I want people who don’t cook to learn how to cook, to be able to go into their kitchen and realize that every single ingredient I put into this meal is me adding a little piece of myself and a little piece of love, and when I present this to someone, it’s me saying, “I adore you.” It’s a way to bring people together. Some of the fondest memories I have in my life were shared over a dinner table. I really want to encourage people to go back to that place, to put down their cell phones when they’re having a meal, and to have eye contact and conversation and memories, and food is the catalyst for all that. And, I just freaking love to eat. [Laughs] I love everything about it: I love the colors, the smells, the tastes, the lineage, the background, the stories. It’s just such an exciting topic for me, so it’s very exciting for me to get to share that passion in this book. I’m by no means a trained chef or anything like that, but I’m a very . . . [Laughs] passionate consumer of food. I’ve done a lot of research, and talked to people who are chefs, and have been a sponge­— just learning as much as I can. My husband, Bob, says I’m a “mad scientist” in the kitchen. KATHRYNBUDIG.COM

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IP: It’s an interesting point you bring up about the food paradigm. It seems to me like the ideas of abundance and love that you talk about with food should overflow into other aspects of life, and if you’re looking at food as just whether it’s safe or not, you’re kind of missing out. KB: You know what question I get asked a lot? “What’s your guilty pleasure?” I hate that word! I don’t feel guilty about anything. I don’t waste my time feeling guilty. If I make a choice, I make that choice and I own it and I go for it. If I eat a freaking cookie, or more, I’m not going to waste time feeling guilty, I’m going to be so excited that I just ate that delectable little circular piece of goodness, you know? I’m not saying, “Bah, just go eat cookies for the rest of your life!” I’m in the health world, and I believe in nutrition and making the right choices, and I do that on a regular basis, but I don’t feel guilty when I go to a restaurant and eat something that’s not “healthy.” It’s about making wise choices on a regular basis but then letting go of guilt and allowing yourself to go live. We are wasting so much of our lives focusing on how we look, and we are all beautiful and fabulous. Take care of yourself and make smart choices, but live. IP: So I’m guessing it’s the same with the idea of a “cheat day”? KB: Yes! It’s such a negative connotation. If you’re leading a more balanced life, you’re not going to feel the need to cheat, because you allow yourself indulgences from time to time. I’m not the world’s skinniest fat-free chick, either. I mean, I’m in good shape because I sweat every day and I make wise choices. I know I could be leaner and buffer and blah, blah, blah—but for whom? I like my figure. I may not be the perfect media body mold, but, sorry, screw that. I know that I can help and reach more people by not fitting that mold and showing them that it’s okay, you don’t have to. You can be strong and healthy and not fit what the media tells us is strong and healthy. It’s a very touchy subject for me because I’m so impassioned about it. ›

PHOTO: LEIGH WEBBER


“If I make a choice, I make that choice and I own it and I go for it. If I eat a freaking cookie, I’m not going to waste time feeling guilty.”

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Kathryn Budig

“I know I could be leaner and buffer and blah, blah, blah­—but for whom? I like my figure. I may not be the perfect media body mold, but, sorry,

screw that.

IP: Yet a few years ago, you got a lot of flak for promoting this too-perfect yoga body. KB: Oh, yeah, I definitely did. And that’s why I have to be careful talking about my own body, because it’s all perception. To one person, I might be super-skinny, but to someone else, I might be a little soft and full and round. Everyone is coming to the table with their own experience and their own perception. When it comes to body image issues, it exhausts me when someone says, “Well, this is sexy” or “That is sexy” or “This is what a real woman looks like.” The last time I checked, every woman was real, you know? I get the whole [idea of] showing bigger women and curvier women as sexy, but what about the women who are just naturally really petite, or the women who really struggle putting on weight? You’re going to call them an asshole because that’s their genetics and that’s what they look like? We’re not helping each other out by labeling each other. I let go of those opinions long ago because they’re thrown at me every day of my life and I know that at the end of the day they have nothing to do with me—it’s the experience that the person making the comments is lugging behind them. All I can do is lead by example and make good choices and promote people to love themselves. That’s really my big goal.

KATHRYNBUDIG.COM

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PHOTO: LEIGH WEBBER


Cheesier than ever.


“On a spiritual level, I am terrified almost every single day, but open to standing in the presence of those fears, so that I can not only uncover who I am, but who we are to each other.”

Q: Why is yoga so important? A: We practice yoga for a number of reasons: to keep fit, stay sane, challenge ourselves—the list goes on. But no matter how or why you practice, when we pursue that mind-body connection with courage and perseverance, it can help us come to know ourselves better. And on this fertile ground, real change is possible. Q: Why is yoga important when we deal with trauma?

Wisdom From Our Favorite Jersey Girl

Seane Corn Internationally Known Yogi on Trauma, Violence, Compassion,

and why Yoga is So Friggin’ Important.

Seanecorn.com

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A: Trauma, anything that overwhelms our capacity to cope, leaves us feeling hopeless and helpless. We all have trauma. If there is no space for the trauma to process, it sits in the body, it gets suppressed, which causes a sensation. The suppression stays in our body as tension and tension becomes disease. We come to yoga to release tension. Q: Let’s talk about the F word. Fear. A: On a spiritual level, I am terrified almost

every single day, but open to standing in the presence of those fears, so that I can not only uncover who I am, but who we are to each other.

Q: Help me understand the root cause of violence. How do we have compassion?

A: It’s important that we as citizens who are so privileged understand things like why violence is the natural extension of desperation, and how deep grief is underneath rage. If we’re able to understand these things, we can go back to our own world with a deep sense of compassion and see the world in a very different way. My hope is to bring this opportunity to people because it’s had such a deep impact on me. If you can soften this cynical and hardened girl from Jersey, then you can soften anyone.


YoGoGirls & Michelle Thomas Spirited

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Debby Si eg el Edge Dwellers


Spirited edge dwellers inspiring with images and words, empowering others to rise to their highest calling. Playing on land and sea, bringing yoga and art into every aspect of their lives, you’ll find them on a mat, bike, paddleboard, or rock. Artists, photographers, designers, and writers, they show that our beauty is the thing that makes us different, and our differences make us all amazing. They bring yoga and color to our lives on the go. Join them! @YoGoGirls | YoGoGirls.com Yoga Pants: So ill

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YoGoGirls & Michelle Thomas Spirited

Debby Si eg el Edge Dwellers

Join them! @YoGoGirls | YoGoGirls.com

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Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jillian Schulz Yoga Teacher

My mantra:

Yoga as Healing I have ankylosing spondylitis and fibromyalgia, and yoga has been my medicine for many years. Yoga has given back to me what my diseases have taken. I hope to share my journey as a yoga teacher ​and​help those in pain​and ​afflicted by illness.

jillianschulzphotography.com | Instagram: @Warrior_Yoga

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PHOTOs: jillian schulz photography


FEATURED TEACHERS

Gitali & Channing Grivas

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Staying

Stress Free in

Pregnancy AND Beyond B Y K el l y G r e e n

As soon as the world finds out you are expecting, they have something to say.

p

regnancy is such a special time in a woman’s life. It seems as though the minute a woman gets pregnant, the worry button goes off: What should we do? Shouldn’t do? It’s overwhelming. All that constant pressure and worry can cause unnecessary stress on you and the baby during a time that should be magical.

For me, doing yoga while being pregnant has been a spiritual experience. I have learned so much about myself on many different levels. It has been an enlightening, humbling journey. I hope all women can let themselves enjoy this time, and I want to do anything I can to help them achieve a healthy, happy pregnancy. As soon as the world finds out you are expecting, they have something to say. Some can be good, and some can sound terrifying. They might tug on our emotional strings or bring up a reaction pattern stored from childhood or even a past lifetime. Other times they are simply projecting their own ideas or fears upon us. Below is a list of five negativity fighters to help keep Mom calm. There are some habits in our life that are part of our character. And then there are the negative entities that enter our life through external sources. Here are five tools I use to help myself stay stress free:

1. Awareness: Distinguish the differences between your garbage and that of something or someone else. Prayer/ Meditation: Even if it’s just for five 2.

minutes, close your eyes and ask to let go of what you don’t want; more importantly, ask for what you DO want. By filling our thoughts with what we desire in our lives, we feed that thought and give what’s eating us less power.

3. Forgiveness: Send love and healing light to your tormentor. Forgive them. And forgive yourself.

4. Daily Physical Release: For me it’s yoga. But maybe for you it’s another form of activity. Moving out negative energy physically helps to keep us stress and negativity free. Exercise pumps up our serotonin.

5. Clean Diet: Treat your body like a temple. The cleaner your body, the clearer the mind. The clearer the mind, the better we can start to manifest our dreams.

Kelly Green is a brand-new mom and a studio owner (in sunny South Florida) of The Yoga Joint South, co-creator of Hot Fusion Yoga™, and facilitator of teacher trainings, classes, workshops, and retreats worldwide.

theyogajoint.com

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FIERCEFORWARDFORLIFE.COM

FIERCE FORWARD


Kareem Cook: How do you stay in shape? Talia Peretz: Yoga, meditation, and discipline. KC: What’s your health regimen?

Vegan. Yogi. Instagram Phenomenon.

TP: I’m vegan. I eat raw and organic food as much as possible. KC: Why did you choose a plant-based diet? TP: I’ve been vegan for sixteen years and support a plant-based diet because I love animals. I don’t want to eat caged meat because the animals are stressed, so if you eat them, then you become stressed. KC: Tell me about your practice.

Teacher Talia love of animals

Peretz shares on her

+

I n t e rv i e w : K a r e e m C o o k

her health regimen.

TP: My yoga practice is an eclectic mix of different disciplines that have been formed by my own style. I’ve learned skills and techniques from masters of ballet, yoga, and art. I find sensitivity, intuition, and insight are to be found through connection with the seemingly ordinary world of animals and trees. No teacher is greater than the one within.

Talia is currently based in NYC, though she is mostly on the move traveling the world to inspire and be inspired. She loves her students and is grateful to God.

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“No teacher is greater than the one within.”

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y h t a p Em l a i t n e s s E Poem:

Elena Brower

At our darkest, do we wish for sleep? Where the troubled are calm, the halls echo? The tired are resting and only the walls can know what we’re all hiding from?

Because until we remember that we are nerves and senses and streams that flow, and so many times every day we are tempted to sink into the memory of this soul... but now we can make another map, another offering,

And is death the buried treasure? Or is this light, this life the truest measure of our capacity?

and come from a new depth of sensation and sensitivity.

And if it’s accurate that more precision yields fluidity, and fluency, and currency, then I offer this precise prayer as both question and answer, and as a kneeling-down surrender, as a quiet declaration of how we might begin right here.

This is how we rewrite the map and travel fresh terrain. We navigate ourselves with kindness, so that nobody nearby can locate any blame or shame—because in our presence the only flame that’s lit is the one that shines the warmest light of listening. Which changes the lens through which we’re all looking.

Could it be that we confuse our feelings about our darkness, our fear, with its essence— which is respect, which is listening, maybe holiness, maybe reverence? Could it be that my reverence gave birth to an entire universe of light and sound?

And could it be that clearing out our darkness isn’t our way around our fear— but compassionate evolution might be? Can we circumambulate our anguish and see everything that’s there; can we surround it with more love and be crystal clear that we care for ourselves? However large, however small, you draw the map of it, and tell the tall and layered story about how it began, this grief, topographically, geologically, how it shakes you and leaves you morphologically altered every time— until you choose to remain unscathed.

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Relate to what is powerfully difficult with a fresh and distinct intensity of empathy for ourselves— which will undoubtedly and so mercifully be felt by someone else.

So can you make a net that’s wide enough to let it all in? Can we each make a promise to keep on listening? And might this listening be our way back into love, awe, and trust: the most perfect healing balms for all of us? Time to respond to ourselves, and to God, as a friend. This is our chance to reanimate the ending and retell the story, and find ourselves in a heap of resplendently glorious light and forgive what we’ve done— and do not what is “right” but what is steeped in love. That might be enough. That might be enough. Receive free meditations from Elena’s globally renowned Audio Meditation Courses: ElenaBrower.com.


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NOW AVAILABLE IN THE U.S.A. WWW.IDO-TEA.COM MANTRAMAG.COM

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mantra

Local Yoga Teacher Feature

Gilbert, Arizona

Jenna

Jensen

a! n n e J , e is r p r u S (She didn’t have a clue!)

B

eing a yoga instructor, to me, is about showing students how to serve themselves, helping students see that they have an internal story and they need to turn down the volume of the outside world in order to read the story of themselves. I am so honored each and every time I am welcomed into a classroom to guide my students, whether there is one or a hundred. Before practicing yoga I didn’t understand my body. When things hurt or I didn’t feel well, I wouldn’t be able to see where that pain was coming from. Now, after years of practice I can feel

sickness coming. I can tell when things aren’t aligned inside of me and I can feel when I need to take time to heal. In the physical sense, the emotional sense, and the spiritual sense, yoga has given me magical powers to live my best life. What type of person would I be if I didn’t at least try to help others in the same way? I am a witness to the powerful impact the practice has on practitioners, and I have a passion for showing my students how capable they really are. I offer a place for my students to feel safe in their exploration of self and enjoy providing a sweaty and soothing practice filled with laughter and love.

Nominate your favorite teacher and let us surprise them: yoga@mantramag.com yogawithjenna.com

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Whole body fully alive

breath, heart, hands, voice, vision, flow with the earth, our body emerges from the water, creative energies flow

in the fire, we transform out of air, we breathe new life In space, we embrace all

Our body is the field of our expression As we enter the fall season of change,

may we be open to letting go: releasing unnecessary tension navigating from a deeper source listening for guiding wisdom

Yoga is love in action.

Shiva Rea is a global prana vinyasa teacher, yogadventurer, energy activist, and movement alchemist dedicated to the roots and evolution of yoga for all. pranavinyasaflow.com

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Poem:

Shiva Rea

All of Me is Alive

Photo: Demetri Velisarius

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Savannah, Georgia Melissa DeLynn Yoga Instructor + Social Change Junkie

My mantra: I stay inspired by my students and their transformations. I stay inspired to wake up and heal so that I can shine my light for others. Teaching holds me accountable on my spiritual path and within my own personal yoga practice. My hope is that through my own practice, I can empower others to heal themselves and wake up as well.

melissa-delynn.squarespace.com

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Soul Camp Follow your Dream

I

f you went to camp as a kid, you probably woke up, and maybe even went to sleep, singing the familiar folk song “Rise and Shine.” The chorus continues, “And give God your glory, glory…” For Soul Camp founders Michelle Goldblum and Ali Leipzig, this mantra has rung true.

The duo attended Camp Towanda together in the nineties, and a few decades later, the camp director reached out to the girls via Facebook, and thus the spark for Soul Camp was lit. They remembered the joy, freedom, creativity, and community that sleepaway camp had cultivated in them, and they wanted to reunite with it. Bunkmates enjoy shamanic and kundalini yoga, 5 Rhythms dancing, oneness meditation, Tibetan bowl healing, essential oil classes, breathwork instruction, medicinal plant foraging, gourmet plant-based meals, and, of course, a good old circle around the campfire. Soul Camp has all the action that camp is known for, and more. Classes and workshops are led by the best and the brightest in health, wellness, spirituality, entrepreneurship, and art. Soul Camp West is in Sanger, California, from October 28-31. soul.camp

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Get

Un-Stuck

listen up, stop “shoulding” all over yourself.

Jacki Carr + Mary Beth LaRue


We’ve all been there: snoozing the alarm for the fourth time, shuffling our feet into work, or having the same argument over and over again with our partner. Being stuck in a rut is not a desirable place to reside, and some days it can feel like a magnetic vortex with no way to escape. The downside to this rut is that it keeps you stagnant and hinders your own personal growth. You make choices in reaction and your successful momentum slows to a snail’s pace, if not halting altogether. In a shared A-Ha! moment, we created our company, Rock Your Bliss, with the intention to make shift happen, share tools in blisscrafting, and help people create a vibrant life of their own design. And we got there with plenty of experience to boot.

Follow these four tried-and-tested tips to get un-stuck and rock your bliss:

1. Know thy Bliss Getting clear on your values is the first step to taking charge of Project: Release the Funk. Knowing your values grants access and choice to your sacred rituals, what brings you joy, and living life on purpose. And know that it’s okay that you aren’t operating from that place right this second. Recall the last time you felt strong, like Queen Bey-strong, and know you are headed back to that sweet spot.

2. Dial your tribe Phone a friend who gives you a reality checkup from the neck up. Community is key in offering an outside perspective. As we can so often be our own worst critic, sometimes it is best to get out of our own tunnel vision and invite another POV. Those new perspectives that you never thought of before actually create choice and make shift happen. Oh, and your girlfriend may also make a great rosé-sipping partner. Obviously.

3. Get Raw You know how you’re feeling right now? We all have been there! By stepping into your own vulnerability and perhaps even showing your underbelly a bit, you become open to new possibilities. Grab your notebook—even if it’s for the first time—and a pen, and start to write: no filtering, no erasing, just simply explore what comes up for you and what feels true. This isn’t

rockyourblissmovement.com

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a time for “faking it till you make it.” Instead, use your pen and paper to explore both the light and the dark. Explore.


4. Start with a Blank Canvas Are the old Pinterest boards screaming surfer chic and beaches while you are presently gravitating towards Sorel boots and flannel in your real life? Vision boards are meant to inspire choice and possibility, not hold you to expectations and shoulda, coulda, woulda. Listen up, stop “shoulding” all over yourself. If you have shifted and your board no longer inspires, it is time to trash it. You can re-create who you are as many times as you want. More inspiration, way less expectation.

Rock Your Bliss is a personal development and yoga movement for the mind and body. Jacki and Mary Beth lead retreats and workshops around the world teaching people how to craft an inspired life of their design. Their methodology of “blisscrafting” incorporates yoga philosophy, coaching principles, chakra alignment, values exploration, and sometimes even karaoke.


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The moment we eat like we give a damn is the moment we live like we give a damn.”

Instagram: @veganfatkid | VeganFatKid.com

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PHOTOs: Jackie Sobon @veganyackattack


How to Make a

VeganFatKid One Part Food, One Part Fitness, and One Part Living Like You Give a Damn Q: Tell us about your passion for health and fitness. a: I grew up a fat kid. Unfortunately, I wasn’t ironically fat, but the real-deal, “Weight Watchers with my mum at twelve years old” fat. I was determined not to let this define me, so I joined a gym. The minute I lifted my first dumbbell I was hooked! I loved the feeling of transforming my body through sheer will and hard work. But that wasn’t enough. Years of heavy weight training, including a stint with some serious powerlifters and experimenting with a cycle of anabolic steroids, still hadn’t given me the body I was looking for. I also didn’t feel great, like I hoped I would. It took the discovery of veganism to finally get me to my health and fitness goals. In the first three months of going vegan, I dropped thirty pounds! The minute my abs showed up I realized I had found the missing piece to my

fitness puzzle. I currently weight train five days a week and run seven days for a total of twenty miles while consuming in excess of 3,000 calories per day. At my height and weight, with my vegan diet, I am able to maintain a low percentage of body fat without restrictions based on the principle that what we put on our plate is far more powerful than what we do in the gym.

Q: OK, now tell us about your passion for food and compassion for animals. a: I love vegan food. I especially love vegan

food that loves me back. Animals love all my vegan food too. Mostly because they ain’t it. On my journey as a VeganFatKid I seek creative chefs, inspiring home cooks, and everyone in between who are showing us an alternative way to nourish our bodies while inspiring our minds, all without harming a single living creature. What a deliciously inspiring way to

express one’s culinary creativity while saving lives of both man and animal alike. Through my online food adventures I illustrate just how easy it is to adopt a vegan lifestyle: burgers, pizza, salads, even sushi; it’s all there! I start with veganizing your childhood as I believe that’s the key to vegan longevity. There’s not a dish a mum has made yet that I haven’t found a vegan version for! Whether you seek nourishment or comfort, I believe food is powerful. It anchors us to our present as we are hungry for today’s meal, not next week’s. It has the ability to slow us down in a fast-paced world and cherish the moments that make up our “now.” My veganism has shown me that I don’t want to eat fast food any more than I wish an animal to become fast food and this is at the heart of what VeganFatKid is all about: inspiration through compassion. The moment we eat like we give a damn is the moment we live like we give a damn.

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Q: Why did you become vegan? a: It’s frightening the amount of

hormones and artificial ingredients that are pumped into our “food.” Diabetes, heart disease—the “Standard American Diet” has been responsible for making people sick for decades. I spent twelve hours in a hospital waiting area observing the effects this lifestyle has with essentially 80% of the patients “eating” themselves into the room. I was adamant this wouldn’t happen to me. So yeah, I suppose you could say I chose a vegan lifestyle for health reasons. Gangs of fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, and seeds, along with all the veganized comfort foods I’d grown up with. Add in the fact that living creatures didn’t have to die just so I could eat, and it sounds like a “winwin” to me. I noticed the more I saw animals as friends instead of food, the more I felt that my soul was also getting healthier. As transformative as exercise can be, both physically and mentally, my vegan transformation has been my most profound. I love animals, but I perhaps love people more and I wish for them to be the very fittest, best versions they can be, both inside and out.

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Tuscany, Italy

Jen Warwakomski What Inspires You? A blend of yoga, Reiki, and meditation, both practicing and offering, inspires me these days. These practices all heal, both softly and deeply. What our world needs is more healing. The more we treat ourselves with compassion and forgiveness, the more we can help others to do the same. Soft is the new hard.

jenwarakomski.com

PHOTOs: Annmarie D’Ambrosio

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The most vulnerable I ever felt was when I lost my mom. She and I were close, and she meant the world to me.

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Photos: Keith Munyan


I nter v iew wit h

Fitness Guru

Denise Austin on Workouts for working moms, Staying healthy at 58, Putting family first, The pain of losing her mother, and Teaching yoga on Lifetime TV ’s Fit & Lite for 18 years interview: maranda pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: Any tips on slimming down for working moms? What are a few ways we can incorporate movement and fitness into our busy everyday lives? Denise Austin: Motherhood is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs a woman can have, and a lot of the women today have full-time jobs they need to tend to as well, which makes it seem extremely difficult to have a consistent workout routine—but I am telling you that you can! The minimum daily requirement to keep muscles in tip-top shape is ten minutes. Every morning for ten minutes, I do a few sets of targeted exercises to get my blood flowing and wake up those muscles to bring more oxygen into my body, which gives me more energy. You are the own architect of your body, and posture is an essential element of your health. Work on being present, and always be aware of your posture. If you are commuting to work, or sitting at your desk, tighten your tummy for ten seconds, and then release. This simple action is equivalent to one sit-up. Another thing I do to sneak exercise into my busy work schedule is to have a set of three-pound weights at my desk; while on the phone, I do shoulder rolls as well as tricep and bicep curls throughout the day. Invest in a standing desk at the office. Standing

burns twice as many calories as sitting, is great for your circulation, prevents varicose veins, and improves your posture. An alternative to the standing desk is to replace your office chair with an exercise ball so you can focus on your posture and activate your abs while working. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? How do you handle emotional pain? DA: The most vulnerable I ever felt was when I lost my mom. She and I were close, and she meant the world to me. To lose someone who raised you your entire life, and who was one of your strongest rocks, is an indescribable feeling. It was the most emotionally painful thing I have endured. To get through the emotional pain of losing my mom, my siblings and I—there are five of us—spend a lot of time together. To this day, we are in constant contact with each other. Mom imparted the importance of always having family come first, and along with the rest of my family, I live this every single day. MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? DA: Fitness is one of the best ways to counteract the stresses and anxiety of life. One of my go-to practices is yoga, which I have been practicing for twenty years. It has helped me stay grounded and centered through many chaotic events. Whether it be running from the office or a meeting to shoot a live segment for television, or having a large, unexpected

group of friends show up at the house, I have learned to take everything in stride, to keep calm, and to keep moving forward. I attribute my ability to keep myself centered on fitness and a true foundation of knowing who I am. Exercise releases endorphins—the happy hormones that make you feel good after a workout. This release helps you focus on the task rather than being distracted by the chaos. MP: What have been some of your biggest life lessons? DA: While I was growing up, my father taught me that the harder you work, the luckier you get. That is one of the best pieces of advice I have received and in which I believe. MP: What do you do to maintain the wonderful relationships you enjoy with your daughters and husband? DA: I have learned to truly listen to my children, and to maintain an open line of communication with them. Focusing on this has not always been easy, but it has allowed me to form beautiful relationships with my daughters. We have developed a great deal of trust. My husband and I have been happily married for thirty years, and our relationship keeps getting better with age. I have such a high amount of respect for my husband, and he makes me want to be a better version of myself.

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Fitness Guru

Denise Austin MP: What truth do you know for sure? DA: Truth is found in keeping a healthy lifestyle that consists of exercise and eating right, a positive attitude and outlook on life, as well as cherishing the people around you. It keeps you young, and I feel great at fifty-eight. MP: What has been important to you while raising healthy daughters? DA: I am fortunate to have a great bond with both of my daughters, and we truly care about and enjoy each other’s company. It’s always a treat when we get the chance to spend time together, and to talk about what is going on in each other’s lives, and to be completely honest with each other. A healthy and constructive relationship with your children is essential, and it develops their confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, and outlook on life. Such a relationship gives them the tools to be successful in their endeavors and in their relationships with others. Another important aspect is getting our children involved in sports. In doing so, my husband and I instilled in them self-discipline as well as respect for others. My husband, Jeff, received an athletic scholarship for tennis, and I got a scholarship for gymnastics. Both of our daughters played sports, and they were involved in various team sports. They received lacrosse scholarships to the colleges of their choosing. Having them play sports helped them build their self-discipline. MP: Tell me if you have a yoga or mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life? DA: I love yoga. Eighteen years ago, I started teaching it on my Lifetime television broadcast show, Fit & Lite. I still practice yoga three times a week, and one of the things I most like about it is that it teaches you to stay balanced and to breathe into each posture— especially the difficult ones. Yoga puts my mind at ease, it keeps me balanced, and it stretches and tones my muscles. I believe that everyone can benefit from practicing yoga, and I have several videos on my website. My programs also help people to ease into the discipline of practicing yoga regularly. MP: Tell me about your latest projects. DA: I have a 10 Week 360º Plan on my website DeniseAustin.com that helps women lose up to twenty-five pounds in ten weeks. The plan includes a yummy variety of recipes from which to choose, and it will aid you in eating healthfully as well as getting you in shape. Each day, there is a different body area on which the workout focuses (along with some built-in rest days), and each workout builds upon the other and ultimately helps you progress over the ten weeks. I also send out motivational videos to keep you on track!

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Photos: Keith Munyan


To Live in Balance Is the

Maria É Garre, M.Ed.

ONE practice for

LIFE

It’s easy to become caught in the ‘It’s an emergency! This MUST happen today!’ about everything.

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Essential

t

he path of balance, the middle way, is what I teach. Like most, I struggle with balance every day. In a world that seems to be filled with extreme living and overachievement, the middle is often not revered, and labeled as average. No one wants to be average because we all want to be excellent.

Yet, much to my surprise, I discovered that the pursuit of excellence is the very road that leads to pain, suffering, and burnout. It creates a discord between being and doing. It seems to be the antithesis of peace, which ultimately is what we all desire but struggle to find. My desire to live in balance has become my life’s practice. It is the barometer that allows me to check in and acknowledge when I have swayed to the wrong side of the spectrum. It is easy to get caught up in the doing, the getting things done to accomplish the many tasks we list for ourselves. In the complexity of modern life, it is easy to become imbalanced, which can often lead to irritation, fear, anxiety, or illness. When I do too much, overextend myself, and lose sight of the delicate equilibrium between work, play, and rest, I am not happy. There is no peace. I’ve adopted a model within Ayurveda that helps me check in. This model suggests that life is like a tripod between the mind, the body, and the soul. It teaches that life is a delicate dance between these three equal prongs. Following this parable helps me live in a way that supports what I do physically, mentally, and spiritually. It brings awareness to each day and the ways in which I fill my day, from the moment I open my eyes to the evening’s surrender into sleep. I can plan and organize each day and each week in a way that does not deplete, but rather nourishes my mind, body, and soul. I have a non-negotiable attitude regarding the practices I need to do in order to support this tripod of life. This attitude and commitment has offered me the opportunity to pause around my to-do list. It’s easy to become caught in the “It’s an emergency! This MUST happen today!” about everything. Technology tends to push this sense of immediacy upon us.

My practice allows me to pause and reflect on what is truly important to do each day for myself in my quest to stay in harmony. I have realized that though I may excel in many things, it does not mean I have to do them all. Just recently I asked for a teaching sabbatical because I realized that my ego was attached to the title and prestige of the position and it was creating discord in my life. My creative energy was zapped and life was consumed by academia. Through inner reflection, I realized that I was taking on too much. This was creating angst and irritation because being Superwoman was not feeding me, but being Balanced Woman does! So though some would judge this as taking a step back, I choose not to judge, but to just be—to be with the truth of living a life that fosters balance and celebrates the middle path between my mind, my body, and my soul. This letting go allows peace to fill my heart space to share this life practice. One of my favorite practices is to observe myself from above and look down to see without filter and be in pure observation. In this observation the truth is revealed as I watch myself and the many ways I disperse or live too intensely in one direction. Let this be your practice and be amazed by what is revealed.

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Maria is a teacher, practitioner, and therapist of Yoga and Ayurveda. Leading retreats, workshops, and online programs worldwide, Maria has devoted more than twenty years to teaching and mentoring students in wellness and holistic health.

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A Convers at i o n w i t h

Sadie Nardini O u r F a v o r ite Punk Rock Y og i Overcoming Abusive Relationships + Low Self-Esteem, Not Making Yourself Small, Honoring Strong Women, and Her New Booming Music Career. Q: What are you most passionate about these days? A: After two decades of teaching yoga, it’s become clear that one of my biggest desires is to help women of all ages reach inside, to find their radical inner strength and design a lifelong love affair with themselves. From there they have an advocate in me that cheers them on to share their truth, create miracles, and rock their worlds from the inside out. Even if they feel worthless. Especially then. This to me is the road to freedom described by yogic sages throughout history, and it’s the path I feel most qualified to help others walk.

Q: Can you tell me what influenced you to encourage your students in this way? SADIENARDINI.com

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A: I grew up in a family where the men were really controlling and the women hid their personalities and needs in order to make them happy. My mother struggled for years­—wanting to be a musician and not feeling supported to do that—to literally find her own voice and be able to share it. I carried this pattern forward, by seeking out partners who were abusive, domineering, and with whom I chose to play small, to hide, and abandon myself. One day in my early twenties, after my long-term boyfriend had gotten angry with me and punched me in the face, knocking two of my teeth out, I knew that I had to change something, or die. ›


“ Life, l ove, sel f-care, m usic…a nyth ing one w a nts to m ove fr om the m unda ne to m a g ic a nd art m ust tr a vel th is w ay.”

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Sadie Nardini

I had no self-esteem, nor any clue how to value myself, so I decided to ask myself, “What Would Awesome Do?” What would I act like if I cherished myself and thought I was worthy of all goodness? Even though I was terrified, I asked my father to come over and wait outside, and I told the man to get out of my house “and take your ugly chair with you.” That was the last time I allowed anyone to abuse me… including me. I vowed never to let it happen to me again, or, if I had anything to do with it, the women around me. Yet I didn’t want to come at the issue from a place of anger, or the overly aggressive hardness I see in a lot of women who fight for their right to be seen and heard. I love

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men. I love women. I think we each have our strengths and places where we can support one another to rise. I looked for my own role models and was influenced by the early female music and punk scene, like Annie Lennox, Grace Jones, and Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, as examples of women who unapologetically speak their minds. These days I also love strong yoginis like Ana Forrest and Seane Corn who do the same in the mindfulness world. Although I do think the teachings of yoga are life-transforming for anyone, male or female, and I do speak to both, more and more my interest lies in helping women realize their feminine power, which is very different than the masculine-only behaviors I see so many women use to try to source their strength.

Q: You represent that in the world well. Has it ever been challenging for you? A: As I dedicate to living in my next-level state, which always evolves, it is constantly challenging and I’m always in this internal conversation: How do I soften and find strength in my vulnerability without sliding into victimhood or becoming too passive and overly nurturing? How do I choose my masculine elements in service of reaching my goals and dedicating to my daily practice of moving through fear and self-doubt without hardening or letting my defensiveness lead? My own process into a place of balance, including the missteps, stumbles, and falls, is one I very publicly share in hopes that it will help women and yogis everywhere gain the courage to try it, too.


Q: What projects are you working on now?

“ I c arri e d th is patter n f o rw ard , by s eek in g o u t p art n e r s w h o w er e ab u s i v e , d o m in eer in g , an d w i t h wh o m I c h o s e t o p l ay s ma ll, to h id e, an d ab an d o n m ys elf.”

A: I’m really excited to be sharing my voice in a new way, one that feels really personal and scary for me, but so satisfying. I just moved to Los Angeles and made a music album that touches on my own path to empowerment: vulnerability and confusion, ego, confronting and letting go of toxic relationships, to finding my true inner stability, and then rocking it. In the yoga world, I’ll be speaking even more to women, and am sending a portion of the proceeds from the album and my appearances this year to The Body Positive organization at the University of California, Berkeley, which helps teach kids and teens how to be fit and healthy while encouraging body love and acceptance. Q: Do you find similarities between your yoga practice and the process of creating music? A: I don’t see any difference between doing one thing consciously or another, beyond the outcome, whether it’s a triangle pose or a song. The journey through all of that to manifest something next-level, something that represents your truth, something satisfying, is the same: You get really present. Find more clarity. Take consistent actions from there that drive you through the roadblocks of fear and resistance to reach your destination. Life, love, self-care, music… anything one wants to move from the mundane to magic and art must travel this way.

Sadie is the founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga. She travels the world specializing in inner strength, anatomy, biomechanics, and physics-boosting for any yoga style. Her new album, Blood Moon, will be released in November 2015. See more at SadieNardini.com.

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Th e T r a n s f o r m a t iv e P o w e r o f Opp o r t u n i t y :

A r t i c l e : P a i g e El e n s o n , E x e c u t iv e D i r e c t o r a n d C o - F o u n d e r If all you knew of Africa was what you saw on television, you’d think it was a continent littered with unhappiness, full of desperate people in need of food and shelter and water. You’d be forgiven for thinking that in such a poor and insecure environment, the time and space to practice yoga would be a luxury. But you’d be wrong. The obstacles facing this continent are real, but so too are the opportunities. And yoga, as part of a burgeoning health and wellness industry encompassing self-care, clean eating, and exercise as a way to combat the rising trends of obesity and heart disease, provides a great opportunity for young people to lead the change. One of the very real challenges in Africa’s fifty-four countries has to do with how to effectively and meaningfully harness the power of young people. One in three of the continent’s one billion people is aged ten to twenty-four. And these young people need to Africayogaproject.org

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learn, to achieve, and to work: to become part of the economic engine that is driving investment in Africa, not just foreign aid. Without work, they risk being idle, the perfect foils for those who wish to recruit for insurrection and terrorism, for petty crime and abuse. Without work they are consigned to the scrap heap of humanity rather than being seen as the vessels for growth and change and transformation. So what we do at the Africa Yoga Project is bring these two ideas together: health and wellness on the one hand, employment on the other. We work with young people from the most marginalized and vulnerable environments, urban slums, and mentor and teach them. And we’re not just teaching them downward-facing dog. We are teaching them how to be leaders in their community, showing them that through meaningful work and financial independence, they have the power to lead the change.

Our professional development model incorporates self-discovery to help unlock young people’s ability to transform themselves while also looking for ways to transform their environments. We offer two free or heavily subsidized programs, thanks to generous and enduring support from our network of mentors, donors, and partners. The first is a three-year certification program that includes East Africa’s only accredited Baptiste Yoga teacher training, international mentorship, and job placement. Our second, newly launched program provides two years of business development, which helps our teacher graduates create yoga-inspired enterprises. Some of our graduates have launched homegrown clothing companies. Others are managing their own pop-up yoga studios. Still others are exploring how to manufacture and market Made in Africa yoga mats. The possibilities for tapping into the multibillion-dollar health and wellness industry are constrained only by imagination.

PHOTOs: Robin O’Neill Photography


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For each of the two hundred young people who have graduated from our teacher training, these possibilities have been life-changing. I am talking about people like Jill (not her real name), who was raised by her single HIV-positive mother in the Kenyan slums. Raped repeatedly by an uncle and beaten daily, she mustered the courage to leave home, only to find herself alone and on the streets. To survive, she turned to petty crime. Somehow, she made her way to one of the more than three hundred free classes we teach weekly and began practicing yoga regularly. This regular practice helped her to find her inner strength and inner voice and she joined our teacher training program. Now, six years later, Jill is one of our star teachers, who has private clients including the President of Kenya’s family and senior officials at the United Nations. A proud mother of a beautiful four-year-old, Jill supports her mother and her extended family with her teacher salary. And she is also giving back, teaching those same outreach classes that helped her find herself in communities around Nairobi, including to HIV-positive women currently serving time in a local women’s prison. There are tens of thousands of young women like Jill all over this continent. All of them deserve the investment of time and energy and support through innovative programs like ours. Meaningful change drives passion and purpose, and helps people discover that life is about creating something bigger than they are. At Africa Yoga Project, we are committed to giving African youth the opportunity to find jobs that they love, that they are proud of, and that will help transform their communities, and maybe even the world!

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“ Mea ni ngf ul c h a ng e d rives p as s i on an d p u rp o se, a n d h e lps p eo ple dis cov er t h at lif e i s ab out c r ea ti ng s o m et hin g bi g g e r t h an t h ey are. ”

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harlem

Three and a Half Acres Yoga

Warning: Prepare to be deeply moved and blown away. article: Founder Lara Land | photoS: robert sturman This is true yoga in action. Rarely have I been so moved. We always talk about spirituality and consciousness. To me, this is exactly what that looks like. Lara Land, you’re a true hero. Thank you for all that you do.

—Maranda pleasant It started as a calling to create a home. I spent a year between India and Rwanda and experienced a field crash course in the nonprofit world. My eyes were opened to the challenges as I soaked it all in and read book after book on the failure of aid in Africa and the history of Rwanda. It was a lot to digest. It was 2008/2009, and the American economy was crashing—but I was not engaged in that psychological drama. I was teaching yoga to genocide survivors and trying to understand a culture way outside my own. I was resting, reading, writing, and taking in the African sun. It was hot, and I grew still. Little seeds were forming. By the time I returned home in 2009, New York had become foreign to me. April was dark, and the rains chilled my climatized body to the bone. I looked for shelter in a new neighborhood, a place I could stay awhile. I was traveled out and wanted deeply to nest. One place kept calling, and that was Harlem. For no conscious reason, I was obsessed. I walked the streets in wonder of each sound and color, my senses heightened from my long New York absence and my twice-daily meditations. I saw a neighborhood growing. I heard countless Hellos. I settled in. All that time away had wound me up, and I was ready to pop into my new existence. I was told no one was spending and everything was closing, but having no first-hand experience of the crash I was immune to it. Filled with excitement and purpose, I gave talks on the Rwanda experience and the power of yoga to not only heal torn communities but also to prevent atrocities like the ones I saw overseas. I wanted to serve my own home, Harlem, but I had to get to know my neighbors first. What I had learned from Rwanda was just to be in one place, in and of a community, and let the work arise. Long-term, sustainable work takes time, and that’s what I gave it.

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harlem Three and a Half Acres Yoga

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I opened a studio and started teaching not just at the studio, but everywhere: in the parks, the schools, the nonprofits, clinics, wherever they would let me.

I opened a studio and started teaching not just at the studio, but everywhere: in the parks, the schools, the nonprofits, clinics, wherever they would let me. I think I knew one day the time would come to start my own nonprofit, but it wouldn’t come from me, it would come from the work that needed to be done. That time finally came calling in summer of 2014. I was on my annual pilgrimage to India, sweating, but the streets were really burning in Ferguson. And then the Eric Garner incident happened. Land Yoga had been open three years and I now knew it was time to establish a nonprofit. These

moments were signals to me that I could wait no longer. Three and a Half Acres Yoga was born. The mission of Three and a Half Acres Yoga is to empower communities, starting with Harlem, by using the physical and philosophical facets of the ashtanga yoga tradition to nurture, heal, and activate residents. Our programs respond directly to the issues and needs of our populations and draw on all eight limbs of yoga to increase the individual and communal capacity of our residents to envision a more peaceful, just, and interconnected existence. ›

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harlem Three and a Half Acres Yoga

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the habit of taking a breath inside adversity. They are empowered to defuse conflict.

Launched in early 2015, we began programs in partnership with other local community-based organizations: the Ali Forney Center and Harlem United. Ali Forney supports homeless LGBTQ youth by helping them to become more independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood. Harlem United provides access to quality HIV/AIDS care for all, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. Our Harlem United program has become a great success, growing to well-attended twice-weekly ashtanga yoga sessions. Focusing on breath work and mindfulness, our

students report drastic reduction in their stress levels. We have witnessed participants take ownership of the program and their space, coming more prepared each week to be present. In April, the renowned yoga photographer Robert Sturman took photos of our yogis in poses across Harlem. Their pride in the program, and confidence in themselves, was evident. When we passed a church infamous for discrimination, they linked arms in peace and solidarity, and Robert snatched a photo that quickly went viral. Clearly we are changing lives by building confidence in our youth and teaching them

Our next step is to begin work with our local law enforcement. Over the past six months, I have frequented NYPD’s 28th precinct, meeting with the commanding officer and sitting in on roll call. Being allowed that kind of access is unusual and not something I take lightly. I have really enjoyed observing the culture and have been especially impressed with the desire of the officers to practice yoga. This burgeoning program is already garnering excitement and anticipation from the officers as well as myself. As both groups come into their own humble authority, and grow in presence and mindfulness, the way we must when we practice yoga, they will be given a chance to

come together in practice. It is my hope that this commitment to the “simple� act of breathing together will spark new bonds and understanding and bring our mission statement to life. Together with the Three and a Half Acres Yoga team, I envision a world where the power of yoga is made available to all, regardless of age, race, gender, class, etc., to provide the tools and momentum for positive change in individual participants and the communities they create. We will accomplish this by employing the numerous facets of yoga to build confidence and determination, create space for reflection and understanding, and improve critical life coping skills in the individuals we engage. We see yoga as a tool for dissolving biases and providing a safe space to heal neighbors, resolve conflict, and build community.

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Christine West • Venice CA • Photo: Jean-Christophe Dick

Readers’ Photos from Across the Globe Featuring the most awesome photos sent in by our Mantra Yoga + Health community of

yogis, meditators, and athletes

Photo: Jason Reinhart

Irina Ovsiannikova • Central Park NYC • Photo: Renee Choi

Shamika Wells • Orange County CA

Send us your pics: photos@mantramag.com

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Melissa DeLynn • Savannah GA

Ashley Copertino • Lindenhurst NY

Jenny Van deHei • COSTA MESA CA photo: Sabine Satie

Sylvie Astrid • Paris • Photo: Carl Otsuki

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Readers’ Photos from Across the Globe CONTINUED

Stefanie Finocchio • Winthrop MA

Ashley Lorenzo • Prescott AZ

Jan Cokinos • Ashburn VA

Doug Meehan • Maui HI Photo: Alexis van Dijk

Gabriella Meszaros • Miami Beach Fl

Mark Guay • Beacon NY Photo: Kenneth L. Bolton

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Elyse Nickell • Santa Monica CA LiveSankalpa.com

Heaven Leigh Johnson Buckingham VA Photo: Bill Geoghegan

Denise Lents • Indianapolis IN

Kristin Page • Bryn Mawr PA

Brendon Payne • Orlando FL


Jackie Dumaine • Photo: Andras Schram photography

Elizabeth Wilson Portland OR Photo: Matto Photo

Dene Logan Selkin • Malibu CA Photo: Patricia PeÑa Photography

Rita Ortiz • South Los Angeles CA

Brittany Rattinger • West Palm Beach FL

Melanie Esteva • Photo: robert sturman

Shannon Algeo New York City

Hillary Libby • Chattanooga TN Photo: Soli Photography

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Readers’ Photos from Across the Globe CONTINUED

Simplicity Love Kauai HI • Photo: Danny Hashimoto

Sara Pasterski • De Pere WI

Mandi Barker Omaha NE

Photo: Yogi the Shooter

Michelle DeNicola + William Turano Long Island NY

Devin Dreger + Tracie Williams • San Pedro CA

Wendy Gooding

Shinay Tredeau • Prescott AZ

Robert Hoon • Sonoma CA Photo: Michele Clear

Nikka Karli • Las Vegas NV

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Photo: Cheyenne Ravarino

Trish Ann Shafer Photo: Crista Metzger

Jill Allison Bryan + Ugyen Penjor Himalayas


Deandre Sinette + Gina Dunn + Nicolle Callahan • Dallas TX

CHEYANNE Abolt • San Diego CA

Kynsi Saye • Lake Isabelle CO

Dana Campbell • Brooklyn NY Photo: Renee Choi Izabel Olson • Agra, India

Kim Sherwood + Stephen Seiver Coeur d’Alene ID Photo: Lance Ross

Sara Quiriconi • Miami Beach FL Photo: Matt Roy • LiveFreeWarrior.com

Lucia Hargasova • Zurich

Brook Cheatham • Dallas, Texas • brookcheatham.com

Kandis Tagliabue • San Jose CA

Kim Adams • Wayne NJ

Marie Parietti • Richmond VA Photo: Thomas Parietti

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MARANDA PLEASANT’S

MANTRA YOGA + HEALTH

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To heal the world, we must first heal ourselves. – Seane Corn

Seane Corn, Celebrated yoga teacher, activist, & co-founder of Off the Mat into the World


marmot.com

DESIGNED FOR LIFE Photo Greg Mionske


tired of being tired? Iron + Herbs helps reduce exhaustion and fatigue* Iron-deficiency symptom checklist Do you suffer from any of the following?

Are you continually tired and lack appetite? Pale skin & dark circles under eyes Often have difficulty concentrating? Feel chilly or catch colds easily? Have brittle hair or fingernails that chip easily? Are you vegetarian?

The more questions you answered “yes� to, the higher your risk of being iron deficient. Iron deficiency often goes undetected, so you may want to ask your doctor for a serum ferritin test.

If you are feeling tired & run-down, Floradix could be the simple solution. Its unique low-dose formulation, with highly soluble iron gluconate as well as whole food concentrates and co-factor B and C vitamins, ensure that it is easily absorbed by the body. Floradix is an easily absorbed, plant-based, nonconstipating, liquid iron supplement with no artificial additives or preservatives and has been helping women reclaim their energy for over 60 years.* www.florahealth.com

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We foundghrearm! on Insta

Liverpool, England

Carliann Parry Peace Love Yoga When I step onto the mat to practice, or sit to meditate, it enables me to strip back the layers of stress and heal from the past scars that life has left upon my heart. It truly nourishes me. It’s the most powerful, transformative, healing gift I have ever given myself. Carliann teaches yoga across Liverpool. Instagram: @PeaceLoveYogaUK Photographer: @Photos_By_Suse

peaceloveyogauk.com | shakti-studios.com

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PHOTOs: Susie Wilson


Blake Leeper Lives: Olympic Training Center, Chula Vista, CA Gold Medalist 400m Relay, 2012 Paralympics Training to be first American double amputee in Olympics Philosophy: The only disability in life is a bad attitude Mat: Jade

Nature’s Best Yoga Mat

Great grip. Earth friendly. www.jadeyoga.com MANTRAMAG.COM

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“I’ll never forget my first two weeks on the antidepressant Zoloft. Thanks to its insomnia side effect, I was prompted to turn to yoga for healing.”

Overcoming the Darkness Self-Doubt, Anxiety, and Depression by Caren Baginski

There are many ways to become an overcomer, but here are three that undid my mind’s patterns of self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. 1 . C ata l o g Y o u r M o o d .

To do this for yourself, create a thirty-day mood journal. Each day, draw a simple X and Y axis. Then, draw a line from left to right that represents your mood throughout the day: the higher the line, the more positive the mood. Your lines might have peaks and valleys—whatever your day brings, visualize it linearly. Then, write up to three events that describe the line so you can start to own your mood. 2 . E l o n g at e Y o u r E x h a l e s .

n

early everyone has one of those moments: the moment when you decide if life is still worth living. My moment came in 2007.

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To get clear on your emotions, take inventory by objectively listing your ups and downs—and what caused them. This habit helped me realize I wasn’t a victim of my circumstances and that I could instead own my moods.

2

I’ll never forget my first two weeks on the antidepressant Zoloft. Thanks to its insomnia side effect, I was prompted to turn to yoga for healing. That’s when I discovered this pranayama (breathwork) exercise: elongating the exhale. As I lay wide-eyed in bed, this method gave me rest. To calm your mind, simply inhale to a count of four and exhale to six or eight. 3 . Re f o c u s Y o u r M i n d .

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I was fresh out of college, and in a new town with a new job and a new relationship that ended at the precipice of my darkness. Depression, however, wasn’t new to me—it runs in my genes and appeared during adolescence. When it returned, I wasn’t surprised. I let it envelop me like the smell of new paint: poisonous, yet intoxicating.

Telling anyone prone to anxiety to “watch the breath” is a serious struggle. Instead of expecting the brain to adapt, use the meditation style that adapts to your brain. Mantra meditation is key. Each time you witness the darkness, impose upon it with “I am not my anxiety” or “Everything is going to be okay.” Repeat until you believe it.

I might have resigned myself to a lifetime of it until a friend gave me the book Yoga for Depression. I’d never tried yoga, but I was curious and disliked taking pills, so I went to a yoga class. During my first savasana, I realized that not a single self-deflating thought entered my mind on the mat. I was hooked. As I advanced my practice, became a teacher, and left depression behind, the very thing that drew me to yoga has become my dharma: to help others live a life worth living.

Take these tools and make them yours. The path to overcoming is paved with practice.

CARENBAGINSKI.COM

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Caren Baginski is a Denver-based journalist, certified yoga instructor, and creator of You Again Yoga. She teaches results-oriented mindfulness practices for overcoming self-doubt, anxiety, and depression.


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mantra

Top Athlete Series

Professional Freeskiing/ Freeride Champion

Michelle Parker T o p T r ain ing T ips Fo r All o f U s, Her M o r ni ng Health Regi m e n, T he Nec ess i t y o f Yo ga, Eat i ng Lo cal, Seas o na l , an d Or gan i c , a nd Rememberi ng t o Keep It Sim p l e .

Q: What does fall look like for you?

A: For me, this time of the year is all about getting ready for winter. The mindset, organization, and training involved with doing so is certainly important and takes up most of my time. Personally, I prefer the outdoors vs. indoor environments, so I’ll be doing a lot of mountain biking, running, hiking, and climbing. Typically a little of everything each day. For me, it all starts when I wake up in the morning. Being on a routine when I travel is tough, but when I am at home this is what a day might look like for me. Q: Do you have any tips for getting going in the morning? A: Wake up and drink a bunch of water. I’ll have a mason jar full of water by my bed, and the first thing I do when I wake up is chug it. It’s kind of a habit now, but after a night’s sleep, water feels rejuvenating! I’ll follow that up with another glass of lemon water, honey, ginger powder, cinnamon powder, apple cider vinegar, and warm water. This second drink is

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Yoga i s something that I have found to be i nc re di bly b e ne ficial both m enta l ly a nd p hysi ca l ly. a concoction of many good things to start your day with and it helps to kick-start the metabolism and wake me up. Training to me definitely starts with physical activity, but is backed up with what you eat. I try to focus on incorporating greens and superfoods into my diet throughout the day. Smoothies and juices are a great and easy way to get those in there. When I’m in full-on training mode I eat a lot.

Q: How about training and getting physically ready for the strenuous ski season ahead? A: My level of activity depends on the day and what I have going on, but a long run with lots of elevation gain is sure to be a butt kicker. A couple of laps up and down Squaw Valley’s notorious run called KT-22 is a sure way to get my legs in shape and it just so happens that there are multiple beautiful single-track mountain bike trails that can get me there from my house in Tahoe City. Always up for a good challenge, I’ll try to incorporate both activities into my day, but this certainly takes up a good amount of time. Traveling by human power through the mountains from one activity to the next is the ultimate way to train and it makes training really fun. Of course, it’s always way more fun to do this with a friend who can match your intensity! Obviously, this just isn’t possible for everyone.

I am lucky to be able to dedicate a lot of time towards this and live in an environment that makes this possible. However, I do have practice traveling and training in cities. I find that running is a simple way to get some good cardio. It’s easy because all you need is some shoes and off you go! To get in shape for ski season it’s all about your legs. Before you take off on your run, you can do some squats and lunges to warm up a little bit and continue that throughout your run. Just take a break when you need to and fill the time in with some other leg exercises. Hills can really get you going and get those legs ready for the winter. If you don’t live in a city with hills, try to find some stairs to run up and down. While you are running the stairs you can get creative and lunge up them, skip stairs when running, or squat jumps. Find a park bench and get after those squat jumps. A little warm-up that I like to do is ten squats, ten squat jumps, ten lunges, and ten jumping lunges. Repeat that three times to feel the burn. You can do those anywhere and anytime. While biking, running, and hiking focus primarily on the lower body, it’s important not to forget about the upper body. Those shoulders need to stay strong! If you have the money, find a gym that has a climbing wall attached. Or just simply find a climbing wall. Discover something new and make working out super fun, as it should be!

As with any workouts, you’ve got to balance working out with stretching. Yoga is something that I have found to be incredibly beneficial both mentally and physically. I initially started doing yoga because it helped me to take better care of my body, but after a few classes I quickly discovered that my mind just loved the break from the day to focus on breathing and relaxing. Active meditation—at least that is what I call it—is when you’re using your body physically, but you can find that peace of mind. I get this when I’m hiking up mountains, skiing, practicing yoga, climbing, running, and so much more. It’s amazing to take a moment to clear your mind and focus on being present. If you can sit still and calm the mind through meditation, that’s also a great practice to add to your day. Studies have shown that even if you just try to meditate for ten minutes and you don’t feel like you are really all that great at it, you can still benefit from the practice! Now I’ve given you some simple tools to build upon, but don’t forget at the end of the day what you are putting into your body will greatly affect the outcome of all of this hard work. Eat clean and healthy. I don’t diet or follow any specific rules, but if I could put a title on the way that I eat, it would be local, seasonal, and organic. Lots of veggies, fruits, and foods without a list of ingredients that goes on and on. Keep it simple!

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article by Tanya Lee Markul

I heard a saying somewhere that went something like this: I refuse to see anything but the light in you. I used to gossip my buns off. I’d trash-talk until the cows came home, and I’d revel in the disharmony and conflict that my voice and participation had in creating hell for the people, especially women, that I was pissed off at or jealous of.

Looking back, I realize now that I probably had more in common with the people I have shittalked than the people I was shit-talking to!

from it—not for a long time. It’s also like its buddy, misery. Gossip loves friends—especially the ones who are also refusing to step into their shoes!

Bam!

At the end of the day, isn’t it time we all realize that we’re all going through something? We don’t need to understand everything to ignite our powers of compassion and understanding, even when our insecurities or tender spots are triggered.

What it comes down to is this: gossiping is fugly. And you know what else? You may think that people can’t feel or know or be aware of your sneaky drops of poison, but they are and on some level they do know. And this is one thing that can come around and bite you hard on the ass! So watch out, because gossip is nasty and you can’t escape

And then I got real. Getting lost in the gossip grapevine is yucky and dangerous. It’s one thing to be interested in and to talk about what others are doing—especially when it comes to the people you love and who stretch and inspire you.

We have a choice. We can choose to take action that brings us all closer together or we can choose to do the opposite—we can refuse to see who we really are, use our power irresponsibly, and push us all farther apart. And like my grandma says: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. Save us all a lot of heartache and pain.

But what happens when you start making crappy accusations, presumptions, and assumptions, and your intention is to be hurtful and to rally or turn people against someone?

Let’s refuse to see anything but the light in one another. I’ll go first.

After years of self-inquiry, I’ve realized that my own gossipy tactics were just a cover-up for my ridiculous insecurity. Even more so, my gossip was an indication of my resistance to step into the best possible version of myself. I wasn’t walking my talk, so I’d become critical of those who were or for those who had something I thought I was deficient in.

Tanya Lee Markul is a quirky creative and yogini who writes. She is a devoted student to the sacred art of self-discovery, authentic creative expression, and wellness alchemy. She is the creator of ThugUnicorn.com and YogaWriteNow.org and co-founder of RebelleSociety.com and RebelleWellness.com.

Let’s refuse to see nothing but the light in one another. I’ll go first.

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Are you an

Empath?

Ana Forrest reveals why some of us need more “alone time” than others.

W

e all come into life with different gifts. Empathy is a gift. If it’s ignored, it will be a burden and a curse. An empath feels things—like other people’s pain and emotions. It’s actually a great tool, unless you’re an unskilled empath; then the amount of feelings are totally overwhelming.

Empathic skills: When empathing, I open my shields and feel into someone’s body. I feel where there is sadness or congestion. That’s where I place my hands. I coach the person to focus from inside. We meet and work together on the issue. As a teacher, I’m more effective using my empathing skills. Students become wiser kinesthetically, learning how to interpret and make use of the feeling signals from inside. The beauty of developing your empathing skill is feeling the people you care about. Your communications, your loving touch become much more profound. You feel the effects of your actions! Learning these skills builds your compassion for another. Amazing intimacy is also one of the gifts you earn.

Some signs of an Empath: • You need time to be alone. • You need big chunks of silence. • You need time to feel you, instead of feeling everybody else. • Everybody else’s needs are more important than yours. • You’re an addict. • You sense what people are going to say and do before they do it.

Feel you: A great place to get firmly rooted in knowing yourself intimately is in Forrest Yoga. It’s all about feeling inside yourself. The practice has an organic process of learning to feel and savor the subtle depths and textures of your inner wilderness. As you get seasoned as an empath you learn to live with this higher quality of sensory input. Feel that huge amount of gorgeous energy! Create clear boundaries: Empaths, one of your downsides is being a Sacrificial Whore; you give till you collapse. Our culture and religions have taught us that this is virtuous. It isn’t! You’re training everyone around you to become parasites. That’s disgusting. Whether it’s your children, husband, wife, colleague—you’re teaching them to feed off your vital energy, throwing you further into depletion. Thus, you’re creating an incredibly sickening situation in yourself and in everyone who interacts with you. Instead, create whole circles in your relationships, not dead ends and sickness. Saying “No!” will help. Learn how to nourish yourself: Give from the excess of being fulfilled, instead of energy deficit. When you give from deficit, it’s tainted. You’re being irresponsible—not caring enough for yourself, not cherishing yourself enough to feed your Spirit, your cell tissue, your inquiring mind, and your emotions. It’s such sweetness to give, but if you don’t learn how to take, you are out of balance. Stop being a Sacrificial Whore and retrain your generous Spirit. Learn how to work in balance. Focus your generous heart on your needs. Bring healing to yourself as part of your daily practice. Then, what you give will be delicious and much more profound.

Advice for Empaths:

Be brave enough to feel: Another sign of an empath is addiction. Underneath the numbness and lousy coping mechanisms of addiction, know that there is a gift of unimaginable richness. Build courage to go through your numbness, develop your empath skills, and earn your gift. forrestyoga.com

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To work with Ana, visit forrestyoga.com. Check out her highly acclaimed book, Fierce Medicine, and her online classes at codyapp.com.

PHOTO: Sofia van der Dys


“The beauty of developing your empathing skill is feeling the people you care about. Your communications, your loving touch become much more profound.

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Scottsdale, Arizona Arynn Akridge Ashtanga Yoga Instructor. PERFORMANCE Artist. Contortion/Flexibility Coach. Creator of Cocoa Roc Clothing.

My mantra:

“She believed she could, so she did.� Passionately driven by the ability we, as humans, have to raise our overall awareness and vibration first on an individual level, and in turn laying the groundwork to create a more conscious and collective community.

arynn.com | cocoaroc.com

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PHOTOs: Sean Shelton


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“What we are not willing to deal with and face, we will not be able to heal.”

Strength The healing power of yoga by: Eleonora Zampatti

Yoga is a physical practice that teaches us to connect to our soul through the movements of the body and to discover our true self— leaving behind our fear, judgment, and shame.

eleonorazampatti.com

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Photos: Claire Sheprow, FindOrion Photography


b

efore I started my yoga practice, I was trapped in an abusive relationship. I was struggling in silence: too ashamed not only to talk about my past but also to even think about it. I pretended it wasn’t happening; I kept living my life in sorrow, hoping that one day I could simply stop feeling so ashamed and depressed. What I didn’t understand back then was that by living in denial, I was affecting not only my soul but my body as well.

I started to suffer with eating disorders, insomnia, and severe panic attacks. I was constantly sick, and I was completely disconnected from myself as well as my feelings. Then I discovered yoga, which slowly taught me that we can heal. With yoga, we can understand how to cope with our past and to accept—even love—everything we are, imperfections and weaknesses included. Through devotion to the practice of pranayama, and learning to surrender to the present moment, we find the ability to heal and forgive others and also to forgive ourselves. Getting on a yoga mat and embracing the discomfort that comes with moving through the asanas teaches us how to deal with our limits, to understand acceptance, and how to slowly let go of tension. It teaches us to discover the connection between strength and flexibility and how empowering it is for us to surrender. This process can be very important for victims of abuses and traumas. It can help focus and strengthen the mind, and help develop the strength and confidence needed to make the choice to take control over their lives.

Yoga helps us to understand that it takes a vulnerably strong person to admit to being afraid and fragile. The more we practice being vulnerable and living from our heart, the easier it will become to act from that place in more of life’s situations, and the stronger we will become. In order to be able to be happy and healthy, we have to allow ourselves to disconnect from both the anxiety of an uncertain future and the pain of our past. We should take all the time we need to recognize the essence of the practice and embrace everything we are or have been: the happiness of our successes and the struggles of our failures. Every inhalation and exhalation in our practice is a gift—an opportunity to connect and calm our mind and let go of anything that we do not need anymore. Listen to what our physical body is trying to tell us; instead of fighting our emotions and limitations, surrender to them. Find the courage to embrace our scars, our weaknesses, and the darkness within; never be ashamed. Remember: “What we are not willing to deal with and face, we will not be able to heal.” When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable in a given moment, it is then that we are actually displaying our true strength.

Eleonora Zampatti is a native of Milan, Italy. Her wide range of teaching abilities includes Pilates, yoga, dance, and strength training; she is now a full-time yoga teacher in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Using her passion for yoga and music, she created a series of fundraising events called “Ode to the Moon.” Hers is a unique yoga practice meant to create awareness of domestic violence.

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Kickin’ Top Entrepreneur, Holistic Nutr itionist, and Accomplished Yogi

Ginny Simon CEO, ginnybakes

Secrets to a happy, fulfilling relationship. How women can have it all. How a passionate, exciting life keeps you young. Interview: Hannah Sentenac

Recently named #18 on Inc.’s list of the top 50 female CEOs in the nation for her work with ginnybakes, Ginny Simon has blazed new trails in the culinary and wellness worlds. She channels her passion for helping people live happier, healthier lives. Hannah Sentenac: What’s your attitude towards aging? Ginny Simon: My attitude is that it’s ALL about attitude. I have friends who complain about getting older and say they’re getting tired. I’m not getting tired. I’m more passionate, more enthusiastic, and more adventurous than I’ve ever been. I live a healthy, exciting life, and it’s kept me young. HS: You and your husband have been together for three decades. What’s your secret to a happy, fulfilling relationship? GS: Our secret is that there is no secret. We’re crazier about each other than ever, but that’s because we communicate constantly, stay open to new experiences, and never, ever fall into a mundane routine. He’s my anchor, and I’m his kite. He keeps me grounded, and I help him fly. HS: Can women have it all? GS: Absolutely. It’s all about finding something we love so much that it becomes a part of who we are. Then, family, work, and our GinnySimonBlog.com

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personal lives become seamless. The most important part is staying true to ourselves, however, and not bowing to other people’s expectations of us. HS: Your namesake company, ginnybakes, continues to grow. What made you decide to add blogging to your repertoire? GS: I wanted a way to share myself with the world—a place where I could be completely authentic and write about my challenges, insights, and adventures. So many people are seeking balance and fulfillment, wondering if they can have it all, questioning whether it’s possible to achieve their career goals and still live a joyful, conscious life. I wanted to share my journey, with all its passion and pain and humor. Hopefully, I can help inspire people along the way. HS: How do you balance your home/family life with work? GS: ginnybakes represents how I feel about life. It’s my passion: living a clean, beautiful life. Separation is important; my guy and I are a couple at the end of the day. Lovers, partners tend to fall into the habit of talking about business at dinner. Not us. We turn off at 6 p.m. and set boundaries—rules of engagement—for when we’re together. Communication is key, as is discipline. You have to make sure marriage comes first. Kids are second, business is third.

“I’m not getting tired. I’m more passionate, more enthusiastic, and more adventurous than I’ve ever been.”


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Yoga, Diversity + Community in

South Central, Los Angeles

Ar t icl e: R a ja Mic hel l e, F ounder of G reen Tree Yoga M edit ation

“ We wo u ld li ke to believe that yoga is available to all c o m mu n i ti e s, but the truth is, it’s not .” GTYM.org

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PHOTOs: Grace Oh


i

n 1992, I watched the South Los Angeles uprising on television. The images and exposure of deep racism and brutality shook me. My eyes were opened to the systemic injustice of our world and I set my intentions on a life of service. Years later, I discovered yoga and meditation. These practices not only woke me up and helped heal my personal suffering, but I saw how it helped others to foster acceptance and to be present in this chaotic world. After twelve years of personal practice and teaching, I wanted to serve in a bigger way. We would like to believe that yoga is available to all communities, but the truth is, it’s not. Looking at the yoga landscape of Los Angeles, with studios opening on seemingly every other block, there are still very few studios that exclusively offer donation-based classes and even fewer studios with students or teachers of color. In fact, there is only one other yoga studio in the entire area of South Los Angeles. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2013, I founded the nonprofit organization Green Tree Yoga & Meditation in South Los Angeles. Ours is not your “typical” yoga studio—and we wouldn’t have it any other way. All classes are donation-based and open to yogis of all abilities. If we’re to stand on the pillars of the history of these practices, it goes without saying that we provide access and opportunity regardless of race, gender, orientation, body type, age, and income. Our mantra is to “allow that which connects us to flourish and to dissolve that which separates us.” Throughout the last two and a half years, I have been humbled by the support, acceptance, and success we’ve found in South Los Angeles. We offer classes seven days a week and this year we ran our first teacher training and certified nineteen yogis of color. By training more teachers of color and bodies of all shapes, sizes, and ages, we actively diversify yoga and begin to dismantle the stereotypes of who practices yoga. Green Tree has become a cornerstone of the South Los Angeles movement towards wellness, social justice, and environmentalism. We are more than a yoga studio. We are a diverse community of practitioners, leaders, and activists who come together for yoga and to create a dialogue about the future of our greater community. I am honored to be a part of our South Los Angeles community, which serves me more than I could ever serve it.

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Sometimes it’s been so deep that I’ve lost shoes; no woman likes to lose shoes. But I’ve learned that sometimes the thicker the mud, the deeper the roots, the greater the growth. And from that, a more firmly planted, flexible me. I realize that any shoes that have been lost, I probably didn’t need. Some hurt my feet anyway. Now, I hold tag sales to get rid of things that are toxic in my life a bit more often, which frees up a lot of good space in my energy closet. Purchase policy: no refunds, use at your own risk. Now when the rain comes and I get a little mud in my eye, I just tilt my face up and let the rain wash the mud out. Because I know when the rain leaves, the clarity arrives. From my own mistakes and screw-ups, I have found humility and self-acceptance. Compassion now trumps judgment a bit more often. From the times I have felt surrounded by negativity, perhaps others’ bad behavior or just downright hypocrisy, I’ve learned to walk on a little faster. Letting go has become a little easier. From all the fuckery and animosity, I have learned to embrace life’s insanity and sometimes hard-to-get comedy.

Bliss-ings in

Disguise

By Lyn Kehoe

“ From the times I have felt surrounded by negativity, perhaps others’ bad behavior or just downright hypocrisy, I’ve learned to walk on a little faster.

I

From doubt, I found my voice. From others’ untruths, I found my truth. n a pool of water, a lotus seed plants its roots in the murky, muddy floor. From that, a long, flexible stem grows to the surface where the lotus flower blooms above.

I’ve learned keeping it brutally real is better than living in calm denial. Because we can use all the smoke and mirrors we want, but eventually the smoke dissipates. And we can run but cannot hide behind what we face in our own mirror.

No mud, no lotus. My mantra of late. The concept is that no matter how hard or bad the experience, within that is a lesson. Lessons are really gifts: gifts that give the opportunity for growth. Growth doesn’t come when things are easy. Growth comes when things are hard. The real challenge is discovering what the lesson is from each individual experience. Once you find the gift, send a thank-you note. (Everyone knows it’s proper etiquette, even for the gifts we don’t like. I think of it like getting “the ugly Christmas sweater” from a well-meaning aunt. It’s the thought that counts, right? And now I have a new post for my Instagram feed.) You see, a lot has to do with how we look at things, our attitude. I figure when mud starts being slung we have a choice. We can be a big, brittle stick in the yoga mud. Or, we can make a slide and learn to play in it, and when the mud settles, be like the lotus flower—turn that mud into an enlightening foundation from which to grow. Personally, I have learned to embrace the mud. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish for it.

And for those times when sadness ran so deep that I thought I would never reach the light at the surface, I found a bliss-ing in disguise by allowing myself to embrace the process fully, rather than numbing the pain partially with distraction. In the mud, obstacles became opportunities. Mountains became possibilities. Negatives became positives. Looking out for myself became looking into myself. I’ve learned to sling a little less and sing a little more. There will always be rain. New mud and new challenges. And some mud will take a little longer to wade through than others. But as the saying goes, if the mud ain’t flyin’, you ain’t tryin’. But we each get to decide whether to get stuck in it or to slide through it. And whether it’s mud that’s being thrown at me, or mud that I fell into all on my own, it’s a gift that just keeps on giving. But you know what? The lotus is pretty damn fine. So, thank you. PHOTO: Kristen Jensen

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Upton’s Naturals: Jackfruit This will be your new favorite. We just discovered this new ready-to-eat meat alternative—the first of its kind to hit stores! It’s available in two flavors: Bar-B-Que and Chili Lime Carnitas. UPTONSNATURALS.COM

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What Health Tip do you Live By?

RE ADE RS

Heidi MacVane Co-owner: Greener Postures Yoga South Portland + West Falmouth, Maine

Q + A

Movement in my day, yoga, and other forms of exercise awaken my body. A balanced diet of nutritious, clean foods gives me energy. Meditation allows me to be present in the moment. I deeply value my friendships, my passion for sharing yoga, and my family. I practice daily finding this balance within my mind, body, and spirit.

Breathtakingly Beautiful Always Artisan Made Angie Cherry Creator of Body Bliss Yoga Studio Washougal, Washington

Breathe. So many health issues come from stress, anxiety, and dealing with our highpaced lives that one simple breath can be transformational. If I can teach someone to harness the power of their breath, to do it intentionally and correctly, I know it will impact them for the rest of their life. AngieCherry.com BodyBlissYogaStudio.com Photo: Deb Hoff-Frye

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veterans take their own lives every single day. While psychotherapy and prescription antidepressants are the common treatment protocol for veterans, a new approach is gaining momentum within military circles: yoga. A growing number of studies suggest that yoga may help alleviate many of the psychological, physiological, and behavioral symptoms of PTSD. I was lucky to find a yoga studio near Fort Bragg, where I am stationed, and quickly experienced the healing effects in both mind and body that the practice offers. As Green Berets, we rush out of helicopters and into explosions and gunfire. When practicing yoga, I can center myself and find calm and peace. There is no need to do anything other than focus on myself and my practice. It’s a contrast to my day job that I deeply appreciate, and which creates balance in my life. There’s a stigma that yoga is too easy and not manly enough. But I’m thirty-nine years old and relatively injury free, which is almost unheard of in my line of work; I attribute that to yoga. I would also invite any person out there who doesn’t think yoga requires mental and physical strength to give it a try.

“There’s a stigma that yoga is too easy and not manly enough. But I’m THIRT Y-NINE years old and relatively injury free, which is almost unheard of in my line of work; I attribute that to yoga.”

Green Beret Yoga + Yoga Freedom Festival Arti cle:

Dan, a Se r ge ant F i r st C l as s U.S. A rm y G re e n Be r e t

yogafreedomfestival.com

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This October 24, along with partners like the Save A Warrior Foundation, the Duskin & Stephens Foundation, and Team Red, White & Blue, we will bring the military and civilian communities together in the backyard of our Special Operations Forces—Pinehurst, North Carolina—for the Yoga Freedom Festival. It’s a yoga and music event to honor the lives of two fallen soldiers and remove the stigma of yoga while helping our heroes heal, both from the wounds we can see and the wounds that we cannot.

was living and working in Arizona when my friend Pat Tillman was killed in action in 2004. I left my career and enlisted. In 2005, I joined the United States Army and after two years of intense training, I was accepted into the Army’s Special Operations Forces, where I still proudly serve today.

i

The all-day event features classes taught by former NFL players Keith Mitchell and Brian Jennings, and double-amputee Army veteran Dan Nevins. There will also be an expo tent offering healthy and healing alternatives for mental and physical wellness and complimentary childcare. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit yogafreedomfestival.com.

More than 2.3 million veterans have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is estimated that 20 percent of them suffer from some level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and a report by the Department of Veterans Affairs says that at least twenty-two

Dan, a Sergeant First Class U.S. Army Green Beret, has been practicing yoga for six years. He aims to spread his knowledge and passion for yoga with both the military and civilian communities. For safety reasons, we cannot publish his last name.


”In the end, we realize how simple life is when we accept this moment, just as it is, without pretending to be other than who we are. This is grace in action and the culmination of iRest.“ — Richard Miller PhD

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For more information please visit irest.us


Cameron Shayne

+

Melayne Weber {

Love

is the

Greatest Teacher

{

This Yoga Couple Shares on Balancing Strong Personalities,

Previous Mistakes Around Love, Staying Together When it Gets Difficult, and Letting Go of the Need to be Right.

Mantra: How do you stay together when things are difficult?

So do I love his creative chaos and radical honesty, which can make me crazy!

Cameron Shayne: Our relationship is built on love, which is a fierce commitment within expanding circumstances. It’s more than romantic chemistry because it requires mental endurance. You have to adapt as circumstances change. Long-term love requires emotional intelligence because there’s always disappointment and unmet expectation. When we disagree, I have to speculate how I would feel if it were me in her shoes. If you want love to work, you have to let things come and go, see the bigger picture, and understand and relate to each other’s way of being. You simply don’t need a relationship for survival or social acceptance these days, so staying in one would suggest you want one. So I believe it takes old-school strength of purpose to stay when you have so many other options. If couples last in this day and age, it is more than likely true love or a binding product endorsement deal!

Mantra: Since you’re both so fiery, how do you fight and still keep the love?

Melayne Weber: We are both fiery people, but underneath our fire there’s sincere love. In moments of disruption and distress, some people grow distant—but we always try to move closer together. I love Cameron for how he shows up for me. We’re painfully honest with each other, but we get to work with the truth rather than a story. I love his sharp intellect, his tender heart, his artistic mind, his fierceness. budokonuniversity.com

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CS: My father said to me once, “Son, you either want to be right, or you want to be happy.” So I get that being right is buying into my story. If you don’t realize that your mind is making up your reality, then you will be at the mercy of what your mind makes up. So when we fight, we check in to see if we are trying to be right, or if there is a legitimate blind spot in the other person’s behavior. I also desire to understand her reasoning and perspectives as I believe her intuitive process, as a woman, to be more powerful than mine. After all, she speaks five languages, runs our whole organization, and manages me. So, basically, she’s always right! MW: He’s correct, I am always right. But he’s amazing at helping me see when my right just might not be the only right! Respect, compassion, honest communication, and deep love keep us from ever really getting too angry. In the end, it’s all love. Mantra: What past mistakes have you made around love? CS: I have sent mixed signals to women I have dated in the past. I am naturally very affectionate,

so I treated lovers like committed partners. I now see that I wanted to enjoy the feeling of love and commitment while having the personal freedom of non-commitment. This created confusion and in some cases painful endings. This was a massive blind spot for me that Melayne actually helped me see. MW: I picked partners who were unable to handle my fire. The result was me feeling frustrated with them because they weren’t inspiring me or growing with me. I was choosing men that I could dominate because I’m my father’s daughter! He’s so strong and clear in his actions­—which really influenced me. Cameron was the first man that didn’t try and please me but rather inspired me to work. Now I make him work! Mantra: You guys work together, travel together, and live together. How do you make that work? CS: People often say you shouldn’t live and work together, but I think that’s counterintuitive. I believe humans need more time together loving each other, not more time apart working. Everyone is busy killing themselves to get more shit to maintain at the cost of love. Maybe I’m just an old-school romantic, but fuck that. I choose love. And I choose Melayne because she’s inspiring and a complement to my life. One minute we’re discussing moral philosophy or contemporary art, and the next ›


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Cameron Shayne

+

Melayne Weber

“You need to know and understand yourself

deeply before you can ask another person to. laughing at a fart. So love for us is a deeply romantic friendship full of playfulness, sexuality, and intellectual exchange. Living and working together is the truest test of compatibility because work and home life are essentially the same. They both require communication skills, conflict resolution, compassion, and a good sense of humor. MW: This was actually a massive concern of my friends and family when I decided to quit my corporate job at Adidas and relocate from Germany to the United States. I had to be very clear I could keep my identity with moving into the “Cameron Shayne Show.” I am very affectionate, so wanting to be close to my beloved—even while living and working together—seems natural to me.

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Mantra: What’s your secret to finding love? CS: When I was young, I thought of love as a positive, sexual, intimate feeling accompanied by the struggle of two people compromising each other's values and lifestyles in order to make it work as one. When I met Melayne, it became so apparent that love is effortless. I adore so much exactly who she is. Even when our personalities and preferences diverge, there is this deep respect for her way of being at all times. After all, it is her totality that makes for the experience of her beauty, not just the parts I like. I see that her differences are my teachers. She is my perfect complement intellectually, emotionally, and sexually, which allows for us to focus on love rather than getting stuck in the

minutiae of each other’s differences. When I failed at love in the past, it was because I wasn’t self-aware enough to choose the right partner. You need to know and understand yourself deeply before you can ask another person to. MW: Cameron and I don’t hold back or hide anything. Our love is very raw. He is the first man I had ever encountered in my life who is awake emotionally, intellectually, and sexually. He triggered something in me that I haven’t felt before. I was seeking a man like him to be by my side and with which to do my work, and he was seeking me. So there is no secret when it’s right. You just need to sincerely want to stay in love.


Featured Photographer

Ali Kaukas

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W

What excites me most is what I don’t know. The unknown, the unseen, the unheard. Seeking new experiences that expand this life. Making me think, making me move, falling straight into that groove. Dancing with life as it falls in front of me. And doing this all with my camera by my side. The sweet spot for me is being in those moments when I am fully engaged with what is going on in front of me and I am there with my camera moving with it. Present to life as it unfolds. Instagram: @allliiibaba

AK MANTRAMAG.COM

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Featured Photographer

“What excites me most IS what I don’t know.”

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AK Ali Kaukas

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Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, affectionately known to his students as “Guruji,” began practicing yoga in 1927 at the age of twelve with the great yoga master T. Krishnamacharya. With the intention of exploring the curative powers of yoga, Guruji opened the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in 1948. In the early 1970s, the first Western students began to arrive in Mysore to study with Guruji in his small yoga shala. He was, without a doubt, one of the most knowledgeable and influential yoga teachers of the last century. His teaching has inspired and influenced the way yoga is taught and practiced all over the world. Pattabhi Jois sowed the seeds of this ancient practice in the West when he made his first trip to Encinitas, California, in 1975. Since then, the popularity of yoga has increased dramatically in America and abroad.

“In India, the location where two or more rivers merge is thought to be an auspicious place of spiritual power. In the same spirit, these highly respected teachers will join in a confluence of classes, lectures, stories, and events designed to share the profound gift of yoga they received from their beloved teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.” As a celebration of Guruji’s legacy, we have gathered together some of his senior Western students for the fourth Ashtanga Yoga Confluence. Each of our teachers has received a thorough transmission of the Ashtanga yoga lineage from Guruji, filtered it through their own experience, and developed a unique way of transmitting his teaching, like different streams from the same source. Richard Freeman, Manju Jois, Dena Kingsberg, Tim Miller, Eddie Stern, David Swenson and special guest teacher Dominic Corigliano will all be gathered.

“DO your PRACTICE and ALL IS COMING.” —Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

The Ashtanga Yoga Confluence: A Gather ing of the Most Revered Ashtanga Teacher s

In India, the location where two or more rivers merge is thought to be an auspicious place of spiritual power. In the same spirit, these highly respected teachers will join in a confluence of classes, lectures, stories, and events designed to share the profound gift of yoga they received from their beloved teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. The Confluence is open to experienced Ashtanga yoga practitioners as well as yoga students who are new to the Ashtanga practice. We offer a unique opportunity for students of all levels to learn from master teachers of this profound and ancient system. Join in an in-depth exploration of the Ashtanga yoga tradition March 3-6, 2016, at the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa in San Diego, California. For more details: ashtangayogaconfluence.com

ashtangayogaconfluence.com

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Anxiety and stress management weren’t on anyone’s list of qualifications or on their to-do list. Neither of my parents ever did anything to deal with the stress of having to raise two girls in one of the most expensive cities in the world, in a neighborhood where their best friend’s son had just been killed during a drive-by shooting. I’m sure that telling my mom to go take a yoga class to get “centered” would have been more of an insult than an invitation to release some stress from a hard day’s work.

“Meditation is for

Rich People”

M Article: Rosie Acosta

“Meditation is for rich people,” said a loud Spanish voice over the phone, my sweet father. “Huh?” My Spanish/English translation has been a bit off the last few years. Maybe I misunderstood. My father had just finished telling me how much stress he’s been having. He has two slipped discs in his spine, and the pain makes it difficult for him to pretty much do anything. He’s not been sleeping; he explains yet again the financial woes of being a single man living with a roommate, and a career as a struggling artist. This is the sweetest man I know; he’s a wise little sage in his own right, and an overall major stress case. I grew up in East Los Angeles in Rosemead, a little suburb just outside the city limits. I grew up in a largely Hispanic neighborhood where most of our childhood revolved around going to school, weekend beach trips to Santa Monica, and the regular neighborhood domestic dispute. RadicallyLoved.com

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Hearing sirens at night was basically as normal as Mexican soap operas on our television. In the early nineties, just after the L.A. riots, racial tensions were high and there seemed to be a consistent sense of unease everywhere. I learned to meditate when I was six years old. It was the first time I heard a gunshot. I ran to the door thinking my friends were having a firework party outside. I can still feel my grandmother’s arm quickly grabbing me just as I reached the front door, quickly yanking me to the ground, telling me to cover my head. I remember being a little confused, but not afraid. I closed my eyes and just listened to the sound of my breath, and just stared at my belly… “it goes up… and it goes down” and on it went for what felt like hours, until we got up and just carried on with our day. I was more intrigued by the anomaly of how my belly was moving on its own and how my body was breathing than what had actually just happened. As I grew older, and our neighborhood became overrun by drugs and gang violence, I began to realize that perhaps the anxiousness I felt when walking to and from school wasn’t normal. The fact that I had a hard time sleeping and concentrating was beginning to affect my life. I remember my teacher being so concerned about the dark circles around my eyes that my parents were called in for questioning. Both of my parents worked to make ends meet; my grandmother was left as a caretaker for my older sister and me. It was extremely difficult for them to identify what the issue was.

So I’m not at all surprised when my father responds to me in this way when I suggest he should meditate. For him these are leisure activities that only people with time and money can indulge in. Trying to remove the stigma around yoga and meditation being hobbies for rich people isn’t an easy feat. I can see the challenge when the cost of a class is the weekly budget for groceries. I can see why it’s not too motivating to get body, mind, and spirit on. Changing this perception is just as hard as removing the stigma around organic food and elitism. Spiritual pursuits, feeling good in your body, and wanting to be healthy should be something that everyone can do if they so choose, no matter what their socioeconomic background is. If there is a desire for change, to alleviate stress or just to find peace, meditation is absolutely 100% free. Meditation is about paying attention; it’s about being in the present moment; it’s listening, even if it’s painful, even when you don’t want to face the chaos all around you. We are all on the same journey; it’s really about making a choice. You can choose to take just a little bit of time for yourself, to sit, to be quiet, and to experience home in your body and in your heart. I told my dad, if he had time to worry, he had time to meditate. Thanks to the Internet, there are so many free online meditation courses out there, all you have to do is search. The most important thing is to be open to the possibility that perhaps we have the key to restoring ourselves back to balance, and this has nothing to do with our predispositions. There is an entire world within us that has cost us absolutely nothing; the innate wisdom we have developed over time has come from our experiences. Perhaps our own experiences have caused us loss or heartache, but it is ours just the same. Most of what we need is already within us. The ability to take just a few minutes a day to sit and observe the fluctuation of thoughts, to listen to the rhythm of our breath, can be enough to release us from whatever preconceived ideas we have, and to lift whatever obstacles are standing in the way of living our most happy and healthy life. Rosie Acosta is a health coach, yoga and meditation teacher, and writer. PHOTOs: Ashley Turner


“I can see the challenge when the cost of a class is the weekly budget for groceries.”

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Interview with

Anton Holmes Mackey Yoga, Tattoos, and Redefining the Masculine By Beth Stuart

“

As I continue to learn what masculine is, that definition changes. In this moment, to me it is being able to hold a space for the feminine to fully experience love and share their gift of creative expression.�

antonyoga.com

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Photo: Matt Kroll/Life Feeling Photography


y

You know those people that you meet physically for the first time, but you know them already? Your connection is immediately comfortable— as if it’s been there forever. This was my first encounter with Anton. We met and our energies immediately high-fived! His vibe exudes confidence. His soul radiates acceptance. His energy offers love. My love for him as a person and as a teacher runs deep and that is why I want to share him with you. Meet Anton Holmes Mackey.

Q: Why teach yoga? What are three words that describe your teaching/practice? A: I teach yoga because it’s the best way I can help serve the world. It allows me to help create a space for others to go deeper into their spiritual journey. The three words that describe my teaching and practice: Passionate, Powerful, Spiritual.

Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be? A: To physically heal people with touch. Q: How do you define manliness? A: As I continue to learn what masculine is, that definition changes. In this moment, to me it is being able to hold a space for the feminine to fully experience love and share their gift of creative expression. It is being direct and confident with the intention to help the world feel more love.

Q: If you had to live without one of your five senses, what would you give up? A: Smell, for sure­—especially in a sweaty yoga class.

Q: What was your first tattoo? Why more? A: My first tattoo was a Celtic knotwork band on my eighteenth birthday. Tattoos are a way for me to express my uniqueness and to collect life experiences. It’s an absolute rush for me, getting tattooed. Getting a new tattoo is like being a child getting a new toy for Christmas.

Q: What do you wish to leave behind when you’re gone? A: I want to be remembered as someone who inspired others to be more confident and courageous, more open-minded and open-hearted. TOP Photo: Matt Kroll/Life Feeling Photography

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My life is loud. I am always on the go. I say bad things to myself. I get road rage. I swear. I drink wine. I get angry. by: Beth Stuart

I am a yoga teacher, and I am human. bethstuartyoga.com

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Photo: Ashley Nicole Photography


S

it still. Don’t talk. Don’t think. Basically don’t do anything. These are the first words I heard during my first yoga class. The teacher might have stated it a little more gently, something like, “Come into the space and quiet the mind. Become one with your breath.” In that statement I heard expectation, pressure, and fear. I can’t be still, and I’m already thinking about my grocery list! I’m fucked! I thought, I should just leave now. My curiosity outweighed my fear, and I stayed. The class progressed, and I slowly became more comfortable. Loud music was turned on, and my grocery list started to fade. The pace quickened; I started to sweat. The flow was almost hypnotizing. Before I knew it, the class was over. I was lying in a puddle of my own sweat, my body was tired yet awake, and my mind was empty. In that moment, I got it. The movement was my stillness, the music was my silence, and the vigor was my don’t do anything. I was hooked.

Once I started flow classes at Kula Yoga, I was sold. It was my medicine, my drug; yoga quickly became my spiritual practice. From the moment I took my first class I knew I wanted to teach yoga. I wanted to return to Sun Valley and offer this same life-changing practice to others. Nobody was teaching this method back home. I now live in Sun Valley and teach full time. I teach a challenging dynamic flow. I play great music, and I thread in my life lessons. I like to think that I plant seeds. I offer it up and if it’s ready to be heard and nurtured, it will be. The same year I began teaching, I also gave birth to a son. His name is Jack. He is now five years old and has autism. I love the life

lessons we are given. I mean, really? How pertinent. Yoga was literally delivered to me in this child. Every moment was my teaching. At first, I felt that same anxiety, fear, and exhaustion that I did in New York City. I felt as though I couldn’t handle this. More importantly, how was he supposed to handle this? Deep down, however, I knew Jack would be the most beautiful lesson I would ever receive. Yoga taught me that not only do we get what we can handle, but we also get what we need. I need Jack and his daily reminders just as much as he needs me. I need my yoga. I need my meditation and my music. I need to sweat and to move, and I need to lie still. I need my green juice and my wine. I need balance. We all need balance. I had to learn that stillness and movement aren’t two separate things; rather, they co-exist.

Thank you, Yoga.

I started practicing yoga regularly when I was attending school in New York City. Growing up in Sun Valley, Idaho, I was used to the mountains, relaxed paces, and open spaces. The city made me feel anxious, scared, and nearly exhausted. I was craving quiet. I was in need of space and hungry for a deeper connection.

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photographer feature

Each photo holds a special place in my heart, as does each yogi I’ve worked with."

My passion for photographing yoga came when I wanted to shoot something other than “fashion.” Once I started capturing the beautiful lines a well-trained body can produce, I decided I wanted to delve more into this art form. My photographs are meant to tell a story with just one simple capture. Each photo holds a special place in my heart, as does each yogi I’ve worked with. dtufinophoto.com

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photographer feature

“

Once I started capturing the beautiful lines a welltrained body can produce, I decided I wanted to delve more into this art form."

David TUFINO dtufinophoto.com

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Interview: Maranda Pleasant

MASTA ACE The Hip Hop Royalty Recently Revealed He Was Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis More Than 15 Years Ago. He Has Remained Active Professionally, Crediting Exercise and a Change of Diet.

Maranda Pleasant: What keeps you motivated? Masta Ace: I’m arguably one of the most underrated and overlooked artists in hip hop history. That keeps the fire burning in me. I’m constantly motivated to prove I belong here. MP: How did you feel when you were first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis years ago? What have you done to maintain your full-on schedule and lifestyle? Your health regimen? MA: I was torn between devastation and relief. I was relieved that the strange symptoms I was experiencing the two years leading up to my diagnosis weren’t something far more serious. I was devastated to find out there was no cure and that I would be on medication the rest of my life. I had to take some drastic measures to keep my body strong. Over the past eight years, I have gradually and dramatically changed my diet to a more natural, plant-based diet. In the past three years, I have been dedicated to a workout regimen that incorporates strength training, cardio, and cross training. It’s been one of the best decisions I made in my life! MP: What inspires you creatively? MA: I have been working on my new album.

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It was inspired by my life story. I have decided to share my story with my fans. The inspiration comes from the memories of my mother and grandmother as well as my upbringing in Brownsville, Brooklyn. MP: What has been your greatest struggle and how did you get through it? MA: My greatest struggle has been the loss of my mother. I released a collaborative album in 2012 with MF DOOM (Ma Doom) that was dedicated to her. That album as well as the new solo project have been in many ways therapeutic for me. Through my music, I bring her and my grandmother back to life. MP: What’s one of your biggest life lessons? MA: One of my biggest life lessons is regarding friendship and friends. The smallest taste of success, the most modest level of fame, turns people into monsters. I have learned to stay away from people who show signs of having those traits. MP: Any current projects? MA: There’s The Tonite Show by eMC (composed of Masta Ace, Wordsworth, and Stricklin) and a new solo album forthcoming in early 2016.


“

I m constantly motivated ’

to prove I belong here.


Sausalito, CALIFORNIA

PAT BAILEY Yoga TEACHER

My PASSION: Passion is intuitive, innate, and instinctive. It is your soul language. Living a passionate life, following my intuition, listening to my heart, devoting my practice, sharing my love for art, cycling, yoga, and life, and teaching others how to let go and create the life they love, is my soul language. My passion.

yogawithpb.com

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Let’s Have

Dinner and Talk About Drugs A Conversation with Co-Founder of Drugs Over Dinner

“The search, no matter where it’s directed—divine union or cocaine— begins with pain that comes from believing you’re separate from love.”

Angel Grant Photo + Interview: Jessica Durivage-Kerridge

Change starts with conversation. Millions of conversations take place every day while sitting at dinner tables around the world. What if we got passionate about creating meaningful dinner conversation with the goal to inspire change? That is exactly what Angel Grant, co-founder of Drugs Over Dinner (DOD), is doing. Her goal is to inspire one million people over the next year to gather together and have compassionate conversations about drugs and addiction. Jessica Durivage-Kerridge: Many individuals find themselves on the spiritual path spurred by their own recovery from addiction. Why do you think this is? Angel Grant: We take drugs because we want to feel a sense of connection, and we seek God for the same reason. The search, no matter where it’s directed—divine union or cocaine—begins with pain that comes from believing you’re separate from love. The key is using spiritual practice to turn inward, toward awareness, which is what we actually are. JDK: Some very influential individuals, like Arianna Huffington and Dr. Gabor Maté, have jumped on board the team at DOD. Why do you think this project has spoken so deeply to these individuals? AG: Twenty-three million people that we know of in America struggle with substancerelated addiction. People are dying at record numbers. Imagine how many people are affected by the struggles of those twentythree million. The founders of DOD and I have our stories. Our advisors aren’t exempt either. drugsoverdinner.org

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Most of us have very personal connections to this work. JDK: Drugs Over Dinner is the sister project to Let's Have Dinner and Talk About Death. What is it about bringing people together around a dinner table to discuss these sensitive topics that has made both of your projects so impactful on communities all over the world? AG: Twenty percent of meals in America are eaten in the car. What if we turn even three percent of meals into open, compassionate conversations with loved ones around topics we perceive to be hard—like death or addiction? A lot will change. JDK: How has your personal spiritual practice supported your own struggle with drugs and now influenced your work with Drugs Over Dinner? AG: I started using drugs when I was thirteen. By twenty-one, I was shooting up coke and heroin. In my early twenties, I unconsciously used asana to make the “getter” inside me stronger. Sure, I got a hit of the yoga high— serenity at the end of class—but how sustainable is that if you’re holding grudges against yourself or others? Now, looking back at thirtynine, I was intermingling extreme practice with extreme drug binges. Nothing spells shame like living what feels like a double life. And nothing inhibits healing like shame. Yoga is living as awareness itself­—with nothing

pulling or pushing you. Addiction struggle is believing you are separate from love. It took me a long time to glimpse that. My work with Drugs Over Dinner is about paying it forward and sharing practices that allowed me to suffer less and have space around the pain. JDK: Do you think the dinners have the ability to open up the sensitive and subtle layers of conversation around the root causes of addiction in our society? AG: Absolutely. Our content library is phenomenal. People who are participating in a dinner are assigned brief “homework” from the library before their dinner. Some of the content shares recent findings on root causes of addiction, which can be traced back to the amount of emotional presence and compassionate physical touch we receive as very small children. Some people don’t want to believe this. It’s easier to blame the person struggling with addiction than to take responsibility for the lack of connection we all perpetuate. These dinners give us a chance to develop compassion for others—if we’re willing. To plan your dinner and learn, visit DrugsOverDinner.org.

Jessica Durivage-Kerridge is the founder of WhereIsMyGuru.com, an intimate virtual campus offering personal and professional online programs for individuals and small groups.


What’s Your Skincare or Beauty

Jeanne Heileman Tantra Flow Yoga Los Angeles, California

I love oil-based facial cleansers; DHC Skincare is great! I’m more Vata dosha, so I do Abhyanga (oil massage) as much as possible. As I get older, I’m trying to gracefully welcome the changes so my Sadhana, personal practice, is the most important thing. When it is steady, I look in the mirror less, seeing beauty around me more.

Secret?

RE ADE RS

JeanneHeileman.com Photo: Thomas Barr Photography

“I look in the

mirror less, seeing beauty around me more.

Q + A

—Jeanne Heileman

▲ Adesina Dowers Yogini in Charge Hot Spot Yoga Oakland Oakland, California

▲ Andrew Sealy Santa Monica, California

Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine.” My secret for glowing skin and healthy pores is a clean vegan diet consisting of green vegetables and juicy fruit. I also wash immediately after every yoga class with Dr. Bronner’s hemp peppermint soap to keep my skin fresh and clean. The simple things work best. YogaJourneyPodcast.com

Sleep, water, laughter, and love! Seriously: that’s the secret! I am deeply committed to taking ridiculously good care of myself. This means getting rest when I need it, staying balanced and hydrated, surrounding myself with amazing people who put a smile on my face, and most importantly: always treating myself with love and respect! HotSpotYo.com Photo: Judy Rukat

▲ Juliet Stovall Instructor, Flow Yoga Center Washington, DC

My secret to healthy skincare is using organic products that have very few ingredients in them. I try to use one product line for cleansing, moisturizing, and SPF protection. I use SPF lotions year-round—not just in the summer. A soap saleswoman once said to me, “If you can’t eat your soap, don’t buy it.” I can’t eat my skincare products, but they come close. Photo: Drew Xeron

“I am deeply committed to taking ridiculously good care of myself.

—Adesina Dowers

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{

essential: Editor’s Picks

{

J a d e H arm o n y : L a v e n d e r Yo g a M a t We love our eco mat and Dean, the founder. It’s everything we want in a yoga mat: fun colors, incredible grip, comfort, and eco-friendly. Best of all, Jade plants a tree with every mat sold!

H u gg e r M u gg e r : Sukasana in Bohemian Ikat

JADEYOGA.COM

This beautiful cushion is filled with organic buckwheat hulls that conform to your body. It is great for use as a travel meditation cushion or small bolster. HUGGERMUGGER.COM

R EN É E S OU L I É : Yo g a M a t B a g

Y u z e n B ox

One of the most beautiful yoga bags we have ever seen. Made with love and hand-appliquéd ribbon by a woman whom we adore. Seriously, a perfect holiday gift.

We love receiving these in the mail! A curated box of natural and organic spa products sent seasonally. Each box has the very best eco-conscious products to nourish the body and soul. A great gift that continues to send Zen throughout the year!

renee-soulie.com

yuzenbox.com

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What Has Been

One of Your

Biggest Life Lessons? worrying about fake, made-up situations in my mind is a waste —Rosie Acosta of time.

Rosie Acosta Health Coach. Yoga + Meditation Teacher Portland, Oregon

I have realized that worrying about fake, made-up situations in my mind is a waste of time. Worrying has never prepared me for any situation, ever. Most of the time, things turn out much better than I would have ever imagined or planned. I’ve learned that what comes is never good or bad, it is always exactly what I need. RosieAcosta.com Photo: Ashley Turner

Pam Blair Yoga Instructor. Realtor. Yoga Pearl + The People’s Yoga Portland, Oregon

My biggest life lesson has been that anything worthwhile is as difficult as it is rare. When my mind hits the panic button and thinks that everything is going very wrong, I have realized that everything is actually going very right. Resistance and challenge mean that I am growing, expanding, and thriving. YogaBugRealEstate.com Photo: Brian McDonnell

RE ADE RS

“I have realized that

Q + A

Yoga Arava Festival: ISRAEL

T

he Arava Desert will welcome the sixth annual Yoga Arava Festival, November 5-7. Throughout the weekend, the villages of the Arava will host yoga workshops with some of the best teachers in Israel and special guest teachers from abroad. The main event, The Night of Unity, takes place that Friday evening with a sunset yoga practice at the foot of Solomon’s Pillars in the Timna National Park, accompanied by live music and followed by a communal dinner. More information here: yogaarava.co.il/en

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an alchemy of presence and song. We include those gifts in the album we’ve made together, Echoes of Devotion, a collection that is, simply, a gift from our hearts to yours. Over the years, Drez and I have gone deeper into the practices individually and as we work together. Our expressions of devotion show up in all that we do: whether carpooling children this way and that, loving our families, traveling, making a meal, playing in nature, meeting in the heart of the city, or dancing in front of hundreds of students, breathing and moving while Drez mixes the beats.

Echoes of

By Janet Stone

Devotion I was first introduced to mantra when I was a child. My grandfather, who was born and raised in India, would recite mantras. Having no idea what they were, I was drawn to them—so drawn that these echoes went deep into my internal storage space, even when I barely knew what I was listening to and stumbled over the unfamiliar words. Many—so many—years later on my own first visit to India, I heard these strange words again, saw expressions of bhakti yoga, and learned many mantras, some of which were familiar from that long-ago time. In India, I had my first taste of the subtle yet infinite power of breath to resonate with something infinite, beyond space and time, inside me and inside all of us. Still, it wasn’t until I heard Max Strom offer an OM that I “felt” it in my bones. Then, when I arrived in San Francisco, Rusty Wells called to Krishna and I heard the response. Later still, Jai Uttal connected my voice and breath, this call and response, and lifted me to a new place. So I guess the divine back and forth of bhakti yoga has been unfurling within me for a lifetime, yet I can’t point to the exact moment when this call and response got inside me and janetstoneyoga.com

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became a part of me. Each time I connect to it, it feels new. With this foundation, I’ve chanted in my classes for fifteen years: simple, no flare, just call and response or all together, with devotion… no matter how I pronounce the names. Then along came a friendship grown from the soil of practice. DJ Drez and I found each other amidst the growing yoga culture. We recognized within each other a reverence for the teachers who have come before, the oral tradition of yoga that has been handed down through the years, arriving at this new and wondrous place that is also sometimes cringeworthy (selling this and that, and pumping more longing into students). We saw this coming together as a chance to bring forth our own histories of studentship in the worlds of dance, martial arts, skateboarding, surfing, hip hop, rasta, ashtanga, sivananda—you name it. We’ve done it all, and all of it is in what we do. This has given us the gift of seeing the power in each other’s offerings. When they come together, well, these offerings multiply, not just by two, but by all of those present and past who have fed and informed each of us. We include the gifts of each being who touches us or has touched us in

Often we ask ourselves: What are we devoted to? This is the ultimate question, as this will inform how you spend your time, your limited life’s energy resources. This is the question we ask ourselves frequently in the practice, clarifying and refining again and again as we chip away at the bullshit of ego-grasping and delve into the heart of the heart, where we unveil the true nature of self and all. Mantra and chanting is one way to remove that bullshit. When we chant, we diminish some of the constant noise of the brain and train our attention on an aspect of the One, as we repeat and repeat these sacred syllables—the names of God, they say—again and again. We can add fancy melodies and deep beats, place it in traditional brahminical, vedic, Indian raga form, but where the potency lies for me is in my deep intention and devotion as I invoke the names.

“Chanting breaks down the difference between the inside and the outside. It’s about having a heart that never shuts down, that nothing can shut down.” —Krishna Das So whether you have a DJ Drez nearby who makes everything come alive with power and devotional rhythm, or if it’s just you washing your dishes and putting the kids to bed, the ancient chants on this album are here for you, available to your heart of hearts. This is where we meet each other without the veil on. This is where we show up for what’s been here, deep inside all of us, all along.

Photo: Jennifer MacNiven Photography | good lux photography


M E T T A M I N D FU L N E S S M U S I C P R E S E N T S :

HEALING SOUNDS

Inspired and created to help harmonize the three Doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Music by Yuval Ron. Featuring Om Chanting with Jai Uttal and leading world musicians. Created in collaboration with Alternative Health Pioneer, Richard Gold, PhD. This 4-CD SET Is Now Available on iTunes, Amazon.com, Spotify, and more.

MettaMindfulnessMusic.com

NEVADA

YOGA TEACHERS

How do you

Relax?

My favorite way to relax is in Savasana, while placing lavender on the inside of my wrists, forehead, and temples. I start to slow down my breath and remember to release all tension from my joints. I go through every extremity of my body and “turn it off” as I lie there clearing out the mind with each breath. LasVegasPilatesyoga.com Photo: Bobby Black Photography

Loretta Lynn Eizaguirre Yoga Instructor + Aesthetician Rishi Yoga Reno, Nevada

Nature! Whether it’s simply standing barefoot in my front yard, walking my dog in the neighborhood streets, hiking the desert hills, or sitting on a beach in Lake Tahoe, being outdoors always brings me back to calm and relaxation. LifeLoveYoga.org Photo: Rachel Gonzalez Photography

Jelena Hardy Yoga Teacher + Owner of Rishi Yoga Reno, Nevada

I start every day by hiking with my dogs, no matter how busy my day is. My yoga practice keeps me anchored in equanimity and grace, so that my mind can be calm when my body is ready to settle down. Although I love being active, simply being at home with my family is my favorite way to relax.

“My favorite way

to relax is in Savasana, while placing lavender on the inside of my wrists, forehead, and temples.” —Maria Diaz

R EADERS

Maria Diaz Pilates + Yoga Las Vegas, Nevada

Q + A

RishiYogaReno.com Photo: Alicia Santistevan

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Interview with

renowned Musician + Healer

WAH! could you offer a brief preview of The Healing Concert experience? Wah!: The Healing Concert uses visual and sonic images of nature and our universe to create a feature-length presentation of profound beauty set to music. In planetariums, the audience gets a slow visual journey through the solar system before the healing lights come on, bathing the audience in rejuvenating patterns and light frequencies. I perform live, singing with loops, delays, and keyboards to gently guide audiences into deep relaxation and rejuvenation. At the end of the concert, everyone gets flower petals to take home to loved ones or to bless their gardens, trees, lakes, oceans, and favorite nature spots. MANTRA: Tell us about your work with cancer patients and their caregivers. How did you get into this form of healing work? Why do you find it so rewarding? Wah!: An RN asked me to join her in teaching yoga and self-healing techniques to cancer patients at The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in San Francisco. I taught monthly for several years. I’m inspired by how open and receptive these people are to the self-healing techniques I teach them. Yoga is a path of self-healing and self-awareness; my work with them helps them participate more fully in their recovery.

“ Integrative Medicine is the new model for Western medicine. Yoga, meditation, sound healing, acupuncture, massage, and other healing modalities are proving their legitimacy with the latest research studies.

wahmusic.com

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MANTRA: Tell us about your name. What is the significance of Wah!, with an exclamation point? When and why did you decide to make your name change legal? Wah!: I changed my name when I was eighteen years old; I wanted to be closer to the essence of this name. Wah is a word that exists in many languages. In Japanese it means peace. In Chinese it means flower or bliss. In Korean it means energy. In Hindi it means bliss. It is the speechlessness that comes with an amazing moment. I translate it into English as Wow! It’s pretty hard to say wow without an exclamation point. MANTRA: What was the first instrument you learned how to play? Wah!: Violin at age two. My mom is a professional classical violinist. I grew up around music. MANTRA: You are now on a tour entitled The Healing Concert Tour. For those new to your unique blend of music, images, and meditation,

MANTRA: Speaking of healing work, do you believe that music, meditation, and yoga should be regularly incorporated into healthcare? What would you say to convince skeptical Western doctors? Wah!: Integrative medicine is the new model for Western medicine. Yoga, meditation, sound healing, acupuncture, massage, and other healing modalities are proving their legitimacy with the latest research studies. The key is integration: increasing our understanding about how these healing modalities can best work together. We have started hosting forums throughout the country, inviting Western, ayurvedic, yogic, traditional Chinese medicine, and qigong professionals to sit together, talk, and answer questions from the public on various health issues.

Wah! has been leading audiences and doing field work in the area of personal development for thirty years. She has recorded eighteen albums. Praising music as therapeutic, she also performs healing work in hospitals. She has performed globally.


Article + Interview: Silvia Mordini

meet

The Practical Mystic:

Saul David Raye

“The heart is the great equalizer.”

—Saul

Saul David Raye is one of our teachers sent to fulfill his dharma by inspiring us that love is the greatest guru. He shows us practical (ordinary) ways to strengthen our hearts through Bhakti practice. Bhakti is the path of love; it is the heart of yoga. In the core teachings of yoga, it is said that without bhakti, without devotion, without deep love, true knowledge and awakening are not possible. Saul is a leader of Bhakti through his Heart Medicine teachings. His story is a composite story of the peaceful (r)evolution of modern yoga in the West. He is both a steward of the mythology and a translator for how to live and make yoga relevant as an urban yogi. We can watch and learn how he is devoted to Prema Bhakti while balancing spiritual relationships with his wife and children. His manifestation of balance is inspiring because it marks the end of believing it’s impossible for us, too. His leadership is humble, wise, and real. He admits he has a long way to go and teaches us that we are all beginners at spiritual relationships. We are the equivalent of spiritual kindergartners in this regard. Saul believes the highest reality of Bhakti is available to us all in this moment. Saul’s journey walking the gauntlet as he stepped into his dharma as a spiritual leader offers helpful insights for us all. Q: How will we get peace on this planet? A: One at a time. Q: Why Light of the Heart? What does it mean to you? A: I wanted to capture the Bhava of Kirtan. To be honest, yes, I’d like to see lots of copies out there. However, for me, no matter what I like it. I feel the bhava in it. I choose to be optimistic because it feels good, feels better to look for the good.

A: It’s hard; the world tramples us at its feet. It’s been a long road to feel safe to share. Yet, I recognize that part of me that wants to. What makes Saul compelling is that even though love may not be trending, he has spent his entire life (after meeting his first spiritual teacher at eighteen years old) willing to be unpopular. While other kids were out on Friday nights he was with his teacher asking questions. He has stayed the course to teach love. As Saul describes it, “Mystics are on one end of the scale and practical is on the other end, but they aren’t in conflict. Essentially you can be mystically practical. Or a practical mystic.” Saul is a practical mystic. His teaching methodologies are straightforward. Whether it’s teaching philosophy of Bhakti, Tantra, Ayurveda, or Kirtan, he helps us integrate the metaphysical, mantra, meditation, and sacred storytelling into daily life. His gift is his ability to help students cut through maya (illusions) more quickly by using our own contemplations and discernment.

Q: Are you afraid of dying?

A: To be in the mystery and open to grace. Grace is love.

His induction of Bhaktas is based in part on the idea that spirituality should not be used to deny our very real human condition, but to wake up to it. Through the teachings of yoga, we understand that the material world is not sensitive to our inner journey. To nurture our inner life requires a safe space to explore. This is the power of community, which the path of Bhakti embraces. Saul creates space for doing the best you can do in the name of love. He trusts the container of soul family community he creates worldwide to help us all discover cosmic freedom.

Q: What does it mean to be a mystic in the modern world?

You can download his new album, Light of the Heart, a way to reach more people with his message of love, by fall 2015.

A: There was a time I was, and then as a result of my practice there was a peace that came over me that I describe as eternal love. This was the moment where we remember God and then everything changes. Q: What is your daily intention?

sauldavidraye.com

PHOTO: Jim Beckwith

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Mantra Yoga + Health: Issue 11.